Google’s New Soli Radar Technology Can Read Your Body Language — No Camera Needed

What if it’s yours? the computer decided not to jingle notifications because it noticed you weren’t sitting at your desk? What if your TV sees you getting off the couch to answer the front door and automatically pauses Netflix, then resumes playback when you sit down? What if our computers took more social cues from our movements and learned to be more attentive companions?

Sounds far-fetched and perhaps a bit invasive — a computer that tracks your every move? But it’s less creepy when you know that these technologies don’t have to rely on cameras to see where you are and what you’re doing. Instead, they use radar. Google’s Advanced Technology and Products division — aka ATAP, the division behind quirky projects like touch denim jacket—Spend the past year discovering how computers can use radar to understand our needs or intentions and then respond to us appropriately.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Google use radar to give its devices spatial awareness. In 2015, Google announced Soli, a sensor that can use radar’s electromagnetic waves to pick up precise gestures and movements. It was first seen in Google Pixel 4The ability to detect simple hand gestures so users can snooze alarms or pause music without having to touch the smartphone. More recently, radar sensors have been embedded inside the second generation Nest Hub smart display to detect the movement and breathing pattern of the person sleeping next to you. The device can then track the person’s sleep without requiring them to wear a smartwatch.

The same Soli sensor is being used in this new round of research, but instead of using sensor input to control the computer directly, ATAP instead uses sensor data to allow the computer to recognize our daily movements and make new kinds of choices.

Leonardo Giusti, head of design at ATAP, said: “We believe that as technology becomes more and more present in our lives, it is only fair to start asking technology itself to take on a few more. sign from us”. In a similar way to how your mom might remind you to grab your umbrella before you head out the door, perhaps your thermostat can relay the same message when you pass by and glance at it — or your TV. You can turn the volume down if you find out you’ve fallen asleep on the couch.

Radar Research

A person enters the personal space of the computer.

Courtesy of Google

Giusti says much of the research is based on proxy drug, the study of how people use the space around them to mediate social interactions. As you get closer to another person, you expect attachment and intimacy to increase. The ATAP team used this and other social cues to establish who and The device has its own concept of personal space.

The radar can detect you moving closer to the computer and into its personal space. This means that the computer can then choose to take certain actions, such as starting the screen, without requiring you to press a button. This type of interaction already exists in Google Nest Smart Displayalthough instead of radar, Google uses ultrasonic sound waves to measure a person’s distance from the device. When the Nest Hub announces you’re moving closer, the Nest Hub will flag current reminders, calendar events, or other important notifications.

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