Get ready for hand gesture tech to go live in the 2020s

Google’s Project Soli is part of the future of the Internet of Things

Google wins US approval for radar-based hand motion sensor

As a futurist, some patents really stand out. Here is one I’m really bullish on, as we enter a post-mobile world of Voice-AI controls and hand gestures. What if there was an invisible button between your thumb and index finger, what could it do? What AI-assistant or dashboard could it summon?

Alphabet’s Google unit won approval from U.S. regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli. Alphabet sounds like a military tech agency now with all these pet names after Dragonfly, to create censored tech no doubt.

In Alphabet’s coming war with Amazon for the future of consumer products, Soli is actually really important.

In the future of the Internet of Things, touchless hand gestures are the future. They are less invasive than AR glasses like Apple and Huawei are building. They are more convenient for introverts than these Voice based Alexa or Google Home, Alibaba or Xioami devices. The future of mobile is invisible ubiquitous tech, and it’s coming faster than you think.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it would grant Google a waiver to operate the Soli sensors at higher power levels than currently allowed. Make no mistake the number of applications here are mind boggling. Google has already shows supremacy in natural language processing, but that’s not enough to compete against Amazon and what the likes of Huawei and Alibaba can become.

Radar based gesture tech could do incredible things with just the flick of a thumb or hand. We need to make touch screens obsolete, they are hurting humanity and our mobile addiction.

Known as the Soli Project, their initiative began in 2015 inside Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects unit, a group responsible for turning the giant’s cutting-edge ideas into products. Alphabet does a lot of R&D and rarely gets things right, but they are furthering human progress. Waymo > Uber & Tesla in autonomous driving tech. But Dragonfly and Soli are like birds from the unknown Star-Trek future.

The FCC said the decision “will serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology.” And I agree, in a very resounding “YES”. The internet of things is finally showing its mark with 5G, a new generation of apps with AI from ByteDance and an incredible array of 3rd party convenience with Alexa Skills. Google assistant's prodigy is not without its merits.

According to TechCrunch, Soli fits radar sensors into a tiny chip the size of an American quarter to track slight hand or finger motions at high speed and accuracy. You never really know with Alphabet, some of the smartest people and talent in the world combined with some of the dumbest marketers, leadership and go-to consumer strategies. Their executives are getting a bit long in the tooth and out of touch like Apple’s.

The tiny radar system called Project Soli is a go

Project Soli represents another race in consumer applications that the world needs to realize is rather important. In public spaces nobody wants to be in virtual reality, wearing AR tech or being constantly playing with mobile or wearable tech, we need some sense of decency. Hand gesture tech could represent a humanization of tech and I think in the long-term it matters for and with consumers.

If the FCC thinks it serves the public interest, I guess you can call it convenience for the masses. The world does not need robot soldiers or HoloLens for workers, but it does need touchless interfaces.

The original Project Soli demo was undeniably impressive, showing off shades of Minority Report with touchless interface controls. But it’s 2019 now.

We need to take the future of what comes after mobile, more seriously. For example, The Soli radar chip allowed Google’s demo hardware to respond to hand movements like tapping two fingers together or twisting an imaginary knob. For a futurist like me, this is the stuff we live for. Imagine the synergy of hand motion tech, in VR environments, imagine what data on behavior and personalization could occur.

We want technology to actually create a better world and not imprison us in addiction or immersion that isn’t healthy. In a 2019 with Netflix movies, Amazon subscriptions that are more expensive and Google side-stepping human rights with a China search product and helping the military with the machine-learning of killer drones, we need Google to stand for something solid and visionary. We need Google to be good again.

The FCC said the Soli sensor captures motion in a three-dimensional space using a radar beam to enable touchless control of functions or features that can benefit users with mobility or speech impairments. That sounds like tech that can be used for good, at least?

Google+ is dead, but Alphabet needs to take ethics more seriously. Android might be a (an unhealthy) monopoly, but America need to actually innovate if it wants to compete with China in the future. Can we count on you Soli? Time will tell.