If you’re a frequent reader of Health Tech Insider, you may realize that we like to cover user interface technologies. This is because the tiny size of wearable Health Tech devices present significant challenges for the traditional user input strategies. Engineers at Google have been working on a fascinating approach that could revolutionize how we interact with all sorts of electronic devices.
Project Soli is intended to make gesture recognition practical for very small devices. While it could be used to create systems that recognize broad gestures like the ones that captured our imaginations in the movie “Minority Report,” the developers envision much small motions. They wanted to make a system that could recognize the motion of turning a knob, pressing a button, or moving a slider, even without any physical device present. In order to get the necessary resolution and rapid sensing response, they did not use infrared or ultrasonic signals that are used by other no-touch gesture systems. Instead, they created a tiny chip that transmit radar signals. The device is able to track sub-millimeter motions, and can be built into mobile electronics including wearable devices.
This is ground-breaking research that could transform how we use wearable devices, and possibly all sorts of electronic systems from smartphones to our automobiles. You can register for email updates on the project’s website.