Project Soli

Very interesting project from Google ATAP which uses a miniaturized radar device to detect hand gestures. Because it doesn’t use structured light, it has the potential to work outdoors and in difficult environments. Experience shows that structured light has a lot of limitations so radar technology like this is potentially a big step forward.

It has been around for a while – it’ll be interesting to see if it does turn into a real thing.

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5 thoughts on “Project Soli

  1. rogerclarkmelbourne

    Thanks for posting this

    I did a bit of digging around and found that this chip is actually made by viasat, and their was a product page for it, however it now denies access, but its archived here

    http://web.archive.org/web/20161211205759/https://www.viasat.com/technologies/single-chip-24-ghz-radar-transceiver

    There is also an old marketing doc – https://www.viasat.com/sites/default/files/media/documents/24ghz_radar_chip_107_web.pdf, which appears to be for the previous version of this device

    Reply
      1. rogerclarkmelbourne

        I searched on the part number of the chip and it took me to viasat. So I suspect the chip is or was made by viasat, as its too much of a coincidence that Viasat make radar chips, even though the chip in the picture has a Soli logo on it

        But I see that that the video is dated in 2015, so perhaps they (google) had some unforeseen problems. or perhaps it just wasn’t usable in real world scenarious, or perhaps the chip was just too expensive to be economic to use in a product like a smartphone etc where margins can already quite tight

      2. richard Post author

        Certainly possible. I do think that miniaturized radar could be very useful for this kind of thing. Another possibility is that the gesture recognition was never robust enough to be practical – I am sure this is not a trivial problem. Hopefully it is still an active project though – I’d like to try it out!

      3. rogerclarkmelbourne

        Yes. It certainly looks an interesting technology, which may have other applications, eg perhaps scanning of small objects, or just range finding for robot vacuum cleaners etc, instead of LIDAR
        (But LIDAR is getting much cheaper now, and I don’t know the range of this radar)

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