Google demonstrates gesture control using radar

May 25, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Using semiconductor devices from Infineon, two prototypes of products controlled exclusively through gestures were demonstrated at a “Google I/O” event on May 20th 2016. The two products, a smartwatch and a wireless speaker, can both recognize gestures to replace physical switches or buttons

Infineon and Google ATAP aim to address numerous markets with “Soli” radar technology. Among these are home entertainment, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). Radar chips from Infineon as well as Google ATAP’s software and interaction concepts form the basis of the control mechanism. Both companies are preparing for the joint commercialization of “Soli” technology.

“Sophisticated haptic algorithms combined with highly integrated and miniaturized radar chips can foster a huge variety of applications,” said division President Urschitz.

“Gesture sensing offers a new opportunity to revolutionize the human-machine interface by enabling mobile and fixed devices with a third dimension of interaction,” said Ivan Poupyrev, Technical Project Lead at Google ATAP. “This will fill the existing gap with a convenient alternative for touch- and voice controlled interaction.”

In addition to their efforts in the audio and smartwatch markets, the developers’ ambitions are more comprehensive: “It is our target to create a new market standard with compelling performance and new user experience, creating a core technology for enablement of augmented reality and IoT,” said division President Urschitz.

While Virtual Reality technologies could already visualize new realities in the past, users could not interact with these so far. The 60 GHz radar application developed by Google and Infineon bridges the gap, as a key technology enabling Augmented Reality.