Smartwatches and other wearable devices promise to deliver info-at-a-glance on a tiny display. But that small screen can be hard to interact with.

So Google is looking for new ways to control wearable devices and other products that don’t involve touching a screen. Project Soli is one an experimental project to use radar technology to let you control your devices using motion gestures.
soli demo

Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technologies and Products) team is showing off prototypes of Project Soli hardware at the Google I/O developer conference this week.

The technology lets you swipe, tap, or scroll using a range of gestures. For example, you can turn a virtual knob or dial to set the a clock, flick your fingers to kick a virtual ball in a game, or perform other precise actions.

Google says radar technology strikes a decent balance between precision and power… but previous radar solutions took up too much space. So the company developed its own tiny radar chip that’s small enough to fit into wearable devices.

The company will release a developer kit and APIs later this year. It’s not clear if Project Soli will ever turn into a real-world product. But the demo sure shows a lot of promise.

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