Smartwatches have really hit their stride in the past couple years with popular products from brands like Samsung, Apple, FitBit, Motorola, and more each promising their own set of features to make them worth putting on your wrist.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with smartwatches is that their size limits the wearer’s ability to navigate and control it. Tiny touchscreens, buttons, and dials offer only a limited amount of control over what could be a much more powerful communication device.
Enter Google’s Project Soli 2.0, the latest iteration of Google’s ongoing effort to add sensors to wearables and other IoT devices that use radar to track and interpret gestures. This technology, if implemented properly, could vastly expand the level of control users have over these smaller devices.
Google’s Project Soli started over a year ago, with its initial version being announced at 2015’s Google I/O conference. Challenges of the project were many, including creating a radar-enabled chip that was small enough to fit inside the smallest devices, efficient enough not to drain the device’s battery too quickly, and powerful enough to interpret gestures down to the most subtle of movements.
Google’s been hard at work for a year on Soli
Over the past year, Google has been working to improve on its Soli project concept. During its Google I/O keynote, Google ATAP team Director Dan Kaufman revealed that Project Soli 2.0 included an improved chip with a 5% reduction in power usage, including a reduction in required computational power.
This increased efficiency is critical in making it applicable in consumer devices where time between charges is as critical as the product’s design.
Project Soli isn’t just for smartwatches. It could improve how we interact with cars, phones, tablets and even desktop computers. The possibilities for a product like this are virtually limitless.
While there are currently no consumer-ready products featuring the Soli chip, Google is expected to open the project to accept applications from developers interested in receiving development kits as early as this Fall.