The Federal Communications Commission has approved Google’s plans to use more powerful sensors for its Project Soli initiative, first unveiled in 2015. The radar-based technology is now poised to kick on to the next level after Google was given special permission to use higher frequencies for its tests.
When Google first showcased the tech in 2015, it came under the X Labs banner and was focused on smartwatches, with specific gestures replacing a physical tap on the touchscreen. For example, it was possible to rub two fingers together in the vicinity of the watch to cycle through menus or turn up the volume of media.
Now the company could expand the operation to enable the sci-fi like air gestures we’ve seen in films like Minority Report and the Iron Man franchise, on larger screens and devices. The waiver granted by the FCCcould also be highly beneficial to tech users with mobility, speech, and tactile impairments.
In a statement (via Reuters), the FCC said: “The ability to recognize users’ touchless hand gestures to control a device, such as a smartphone, could help people with mobility, speech, or tactile impairments, which in turn could lead to higher productivity and quality of life for many members of the American public.”
The regulator also said there’s little chance of Google’s Project interfering with other spectrum users and has approved the tech for use on aircraft.
Google hasn’t commented on the news yet, but it’ll be interesting to see what the company has in mind for Project Soli moving forward. Hopefully, we’ll find out more in 2019.