FCC Green Lights Google Use Of Gesture Sensing RADAR

Posted by at 10:30 am on January 2, 2019

The FCC this week granted (PDF) Google permission to deploy its experimental Project Soli sensors in mobile devices in the U.S..

The unique sensors use a form of RADAR technology to detect specific hand gestures in mid-air, and can be placed in devices such as phones and smartwatches. The sensors are designed to detect gestures such as a finger pinch and turning an invisible knob. The technology also has many potential uses in accessibility.

A Soli sensor emits low-power radio waves in the 57-64 GHz frequency band and detects interruptions in that field to create a 3D map of hands or other objects in its field of view. That same frequency band is used by satellites that monitor the earth and its atmosphere, as well as radio telescopes.

Facebook had argued to the FCC that Soli sensors at Google’s requested power levels could interfere with those existing services. The FCC ruled in favor of Google, including allowing the use of Soli sensors on airplanes.

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