Google ATAP's 'Soli' opens a world of new virtual controls with radar on a chip

Google's ATAP group — think next-generation Skunkworks — this morning at Google I/O unveiled its latest moonshot — Project Soli. It's basically a tiny doppler radar instead of optical cameras to track motion, offering a higher level of fidelity and discrete movements, and opening up a whole new world of interacting with technology. (That and radar's just cool.)

The size of the radar chip itself is what opens the door to that new world. It'll be able to be embedded in all sorts of applications that have been previously limited. Think Minority Report gesturing, but not just for desktop-size devices. Think tapping in the air above a radio. Or beckoning a light to brighten merely by waving your hand.

Watch the video above, and ATAP's Ivan Poupyrev sums it up nicely:

"It blows your mind, usually, when you see things people do. That's what I'm really looking forward to. I'm really looking forward to releasing this to the developer community."

This, folks, is the future. Stay tuned for more.

Phil Nickinson