Google wins US ap­proval for a new radar-based mo­tion sen­sor

Global Times - Weekend - - TECH - Reuters – Global Times

Al­pha­bet Inc’s Google unit won ap­proval from US reg­u­la­tors to de­ploy a radar-based mo­tion sens­ing de­vice known as Pro­ject Soli.

The Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (FCC) said in an or­der late on Mon­day that it would grant Google a waiver to op­er­ate the Soli sen­sors at higher power lev­els than cur­rently al­lowed. The FCC said the sen­sors could also be op­er­ated on­board air­craft.

The FCC said the de­ci­sion “will serve the pub­lic in­ter­est by pro­vid­ing for in­no­va­tive de­vice con­trol fea­tures us­ing touch­less hand ges­ture technology.”

A Google spokes­woman did not im­me­di­ately com­ment on Wednesday.

Google said in doc­u­ments filed with the FCC that the ef­fort emerged from the work of Google’s Ad­vanced Technology and Projects group that fo­cuses on devel­op­ment of mo­bile tech­nolo­gies.

The FCC said the Soli sen­sor cap­tures mo­tion in a three­d­i­men­sional space us­ing a radar beam to en­able touch­less con­trol of func­tions or fea­tures that can ben­e­fit users with mo­bil­ity or speech im­pair­ments.

Google says the sen­sor can al­low users to press an in­vis­i­ble but­ton be­tween the thumb and in­dex fin­gers or a vir­tual dial that turns by rub­bing a thumb against the in­dex fin­ger. In a video on its web­site, Google said a user could op­er­ate a smart watch, scroll through mu­sic or ad­just the vol­ume by sim­ply mo­tion­ing us­ing the sys­tem.

Google added that the radar sig­nal could pen­e­trate fab­rics, en­abling con­trols that could work in a pocket or a back­pack.

The com­pany says that “even though these con­trols are vir­tual, the in­ter­ac­tions feel phys­i­cal and re­spon­sive” as feed­back is gen­er­ated by the hap­tic sen­sa­tion of fin­gers touch­ing.

Google says the vir­tual tools can ap­prox­i­mate the pre­ci­sion of nat­u­ral hu­man hand mo­tion and the sen­sor can be em­bed­ded in wear­ables, phones, com­put­ers and ve­hi­cles.

In March, Google asked the FCC to al­low its short-range in­ter­ac­tive mo­tion sens­ing Soli radar to op­er­ate in the 57- to 64-GHz fre­quency band at power lev­els con­sis­tent with Euro­pean Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Stan­dards In­sti­tute stan­dards, me­dia re­ports said.

Face­book Inc raised con­cerns with the FCC that the Soli sen­sors op­er­at­ing in the spec­trum band at higher power lev­els might have is­sues co­ex­ist­ing with other tech­nolo­gies.

Af­ter dis­cus­sions, Google and Face­book jointly told the FCC in Septem­ber that they agreed the sen­sors could op­er­ate at higher than cur­rently al­lowed power lev­els with­out in­ter­fer­ence.

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