back to article OK, Google. We've got just the gesture for you: Hand-tracking Project Soli coming to Pixel 4

Google will include motion-sensing radar in the forthcoming Pixel 4 smartphone to enable gesture control by waving your hand. Project Soli uses electromagnetic waves to detect the size, shape, material, distance and velocity of nearly objects. The system is optimised for motion resolution to detect things like finger movements …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Since soli is a low powered radar, is it safe to hold the phone to your ear for any lenght of time? Or are Google going to map our brains whilst we talk?

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      The article over at Ars Technica says Google had to ask the FCC to allow them to use more powerful transmitters.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Presumably the normal proximity sensor (which doubles as the ambient light sensor) lets the phone know when it is against someone's ear and disables the radar, just as it does the touchscreen. This both saves power and avoids accidental inputs. This is expected behaviour since the 1st gen iPhone.

        1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

          expected behaviour != actual behaviour. We'll have to wait and see I reckon.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        The article over at Ars Technica says Google had to ask the FCC to allow them to use more powerful transmitters.

        Now, you'd expect permission from a federal authority would ensure safety and the best interests of the customer at heart.

        But with the current incumbents in the offices, this may no longer be the case.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          I think the FCC is only going to be concerned about RFI, not health.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will this detect all hand motion? Asking for a concerned friend.

    1. Evil Scot
      Paris Hilton

      People who liked this also liked...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why is Amazon all of sudden recommending tissues?

  3. pavel.petrman

    I'm quite surprised they announced it at all

    It would have been more along Google's lines to have it built in and keep it on at all times, only to say "sorry we forgot to mention it, of course it is there and always on, why shouldn't it?" when caught. Because of course the gesture control is only there to comfort the easily misguided masses, the real purpose if better situational awareness and more complete coverage of the vast network of slurping devices.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I'm quite surprised they announced it at all

      Microsoft's AR Minecraft and Niantec's Pokémon Go are better examples of efforts to map real life environments - the user is encouraged to point the phone at the wider environment. This short range radar is only focused on the users' hands.

      Google's applications for Soli seem limited - music control etc - since the data doesn't leave the dedicated chip ( that just exports a media control trigger or whatever). This keeps the permissions simpler and mitigates a data slurp backlash, but maybe later versions will have an API if 3rd applications seem worthwhile.

      From Ars Technica:

      "Google promises that its FaceID "image data never leaves your phone" and that the data is "never saved or shared with other Google services." Soli data will get the same on-device treatment."

      Just to clarify, the FaceID is done with two IR cameras and projectors, not the radar bit. The radar bit merely tells the phone to scan for a face when the user reaches for the phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Google promises that its FaceID "image data never leaves your phone"

        they've promised many things and they've broken their promises many times. The only certain thing is that they will break this promise.

  4. Locky

    As Keanu said in the Matrix

    Ok Google, how about I give you the finger, and you give me my phone call

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    For some reason, I'm remembering a scene

    in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where Zaphod has to sit very very still to avoid changing the station on his radio, which is equipped with this very functionality...

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: For some reason, I'm remembering a scene

      A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

      Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: For some reason, I'm remembering a scene

      Yes, I remember when Samsung had (maybe they still have) the ability to detect gestures that you make near, but not touching, the screen. I tried it out for a week or so but ended up having to disable it because of all of the times it thought I was gesturing when really I was just moving my hand nearby.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Some more stuff to disable

    See title.

    My laptop had a terminal disagreement with the tiled floor recently so for the house I bought a mini pc that came pre loaded with Win10.

    I surprised at how much crap there is to disable or flush, makes a Chinese phone look lightweight.

    Googles insistence on a lot of the crap in Android gets short shrift too.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last!

    I've been itching for my phone to be automatically delete unwanted messages when I flip them off for AGES!

    Or, you know, I might just decide not to add yet another battery drainer to to my phone and stick with deleting such messages the usual way.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sensors will attempt to recognise you with the phone "in almost any orientation"

    and your mugshot, taken at all possible angles, will end up in every possible (and impossible - you think) database.

    p.s. Why would met police waste any money on their recognition system, when they can tap into google?

  9. I.Geller Bronze badge

    Google won't stop at nothing: wants to annotate queries at any cost.

  10. JohnFen Silver badge


    Wait, let me rephrase that. Hell no.

  11. BGatez Bronze badge

    ugh, just ugh

    And how exactly does it recognize YOUR hand?

  12. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Great... they will be watching us having sex now too: penis movements misinterpreted as gestures causing all sorts of havoc

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