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Google gets FCC permission to use higher frequency radar for Project Soli


The FCC has granted Google exemption for Project Soli that would enable the Mountain View company to continue with its development efforts with the project at a higher frequency than is otherwise allowed by the regulatory authority.

For those not in the knowing, Project Soli happens to be a new generation interaction method as envisaged by the Advanced Technology and Projects or ATAP group within Google. The system includes a radar that would sense movements of the human hand even if there are no touchscreen or such medium in between. In other words, the system is so designed to sense the movements even if they have been done in space.

For instance, the simple movement of two fingers to mimic turning a knob would be enough for the UI to react accordingly. Similarly, a sliding movement can be taken as an input to suit various applications, Like, the same can be done to move the web page when browsing the web or as a volume slider control in a music app and such. Also, drawing a tick mark in virtual space can be taken as a consent for an appropriate application.

First announced during Google I/O 2015, Project Soli is being put forth as a means for communicating for those with a visual or sensory impairment who otherwise might find it difficult to interact via touchscreens. The hand or finger movements are picked up by radar beams emitted by a chip thereby setting the stage for the right actions to be performed in response.

However, as Google stated in its application to the FCC, they need to operate the radar beams at a higher frequency so that the system is able to pick up the fine movements in a precise manner. Google also argued the higher frequency is still safe in that those are within limits as applicable by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.


However, what is not known is whether the waiver is a one-time thing just for experiment or if Project Soli in its final form, if at all it reaches that stage, will also require a higher frequency radar beam for its operation.

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