Google is mak­ing the Force real

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Google’s Pro­ject Soli could put an end to di­als, but­tons and touch screens, and move us into a world where per­sonal tech­nol­ogy is con­trolled with a flick of the wrist.

Google un­veiled the pro­ject at its re­cent I/O con­fer­ence. It is a mo­tion de­tec­tor that recog­nises cer­tain hand ges­tures and al­lows you to con­trol ap­pli­ances us­ing them.

“What we pro­pose is that you use a hand­mo­tions vo­cab­u­lary,” said tech­ni­cal pro­gramme lead Ivan Poupyrev.

The idea of re­plac­ing con­trollers and re­motes with the hu­man body is not new. Com­pa­nies such as Sam­sung and Mi­crosoft with its Xbox have had prod­ucts con­trolled by mo­tion sen­sors avail­able for years. What makes Pro­ject Soli dif­fer­ent is it ditches the usual cam­era-track­ing sys­tem and re­places it with radar, a more pow­er­ful and ac­cu­rate tech­nol­ogy.

De­sign lead Carsten Sch­we­sig ex­plains why Pro­ject Soli uses radar.

“Since Soli’s sen­sors can cap­ture mo­tion at up to 10 000 frames per sec­ond, it is more ac­cu­rate than cam­era-based sys­tems, which track mo­tion at much lower frame rates. You can do things you would never be able to do with a cam­era.”

The po­ten­tial for such an ac­cu­rate and ver­sa­tile mo­tion con­troller is enor­mous, and may change the way we use per­sonal tech­nol­ogy en­tirely. At the very least, Star Wars fans will be thrilled that they can now con­trol all their per­sonal tech­nol­ogy with a wave of their hands. The Force, any­one?

The pro­ject is still in de­vel­op­ment, but hope­fully we will find it in our homes in

a cou­ple of years

GES­TURE TECH Pro­ject Soli is a radar-based sys­tem that lets peo­ple do things like rub their fin­gers to­gether to in­ter­act with ma­chines

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