Google, after years of engineering and development, introduced its radar-based, gesture-recognizing Soli chipset with the Pixel 4 series of smartphones in 2019. Although the technology is quite advanced, its application has not been successful at the time. Currently, the Soli chip only exists inside the second-generation Nest Thermostat and Nest Hub.
However, it seems that Google wants to explore more use cases for Soli as it recently showed the future of its Soli chip in ‘socially smart’ displays and tablets.
In a recent video shared on YouTube, the group Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) from Google showed how the Soli chip can be used in connected displays and tablets. For the uninitiated, the Soli chip was originally developed by Google’s ATAP team. And now, researchers have explained how the radar-based chip can be used to develop “socially intelligent” displays that display results by detecting individuals’ head and body movements.
The video shows some of the applications of the Soli chip in connected displays and tablets. The team used acombination of novel sensing and machine learning techniquesto detect head orientation, body movements and other gestures and take action. For example, the video shows potential weather conditions appearing on the screen when a person glances at a Soli-based connected display before exiting through the main door.
This shows that the Soli chip can recognize social contexts and display relevant results that could help a person make the right decision. In this case, the connected display was able to recognize the fact that the person was going out and maybe they should check the weather outside. It is analogous to how humans can communicate with each other non-verbally by understanding social context.
Not for one commercial use?
Other examples show that a video automatically pauses when someone moves away from the viewing position, automatically answers incoming video calls when a recipient glances at the screen , and many others. You can watch the video below to see Soli-based “socially smart” displays and tablets in action.
Although these connected screens and tablets seem very useful, nothing says Google will make them available for commercial use. And given the issues with the Soli chipset (implementation costs and such), it’s unlikely we’ll see these connected displays hitting the market in the near future.