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Google Developing Touch Free Tech With Project Soli

It is also bringing 360 degree film to the masses.


Google does it again, and again, and again. Now the company is teaming with GoPro on a new VR Camera as part of its Cardboard virtual reality Platform. And as if that is not enough the company is also engaged in a new project which will let people have “touch free” control over their electronic devices called project Soli.

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Let’s start with Project Soli. You’ve seen this depicted in all sorts of Si Fi movies. Someone operates a device just by pointing at it or waving a hand.

Now if you are tired of having to always type commands onto a keyboard, use a mouse, or of getting fingerprints all over the touch screens of your mobile devices you are in luck. Using radar, Google is developing such hands free tech.

Soli is a small sensor which recognizes people’s hand gestures and is being developed by the people at TAP, Google’s Advanced technology and Projects group. The new tech will track sub-millimeter motions at “high speed and accuracy, ” says Google, and will not rely on cameras as like current motion control devices do.

There is no word yet on when Google expects this groundbreaking tech to be ready for the market place.

Ivan Poupyrev, the founder of Project Soli, states in a video about it, “The radar has properties which no other technology has. It can work through materials, it can be embedded into objects, it allows us to track really precise motions, and what is most exciting about it is that you can shrink the entire radar and put it in a tiny chip.”

Now as for Google Cardboard, the company is working to expand the service with GoPro to bring 360 degree filming to the public at large with its new “Jump.”

google cardboard

The tech is not new. Amusment parks have used 360 degree films for years. You stand up and watch the moving images all around you and even get a sensation of moving yourself. Also the Matrix movies used a variation of it to make all those great effects where Neo or Morpheus flipped around 360 against a static background.

Now, however, Google will be bringing this tech to the masses. The Jump rig consists of 16 camera modules in a circular array. The size of the rig and the arrangement of the cameras are optimized to work with the Jump assembler.

Google Boasts that Jump assembles 360 videos that allow you to experience a scene in every direction. Perfect stereo ensures that near things look near, far things look far.


But will it succeed? Writing in Venture Beat, Alan Carlton, the Vice President of InterDigital Europe, said, “The fact is that, given the latencies that are hard-wired into our current technology architecture, “virtual reality” as we currently have it, far from delivering an enjoyable, highly interactive experience, is most likely to render a user nauseous.”

“This is an inescapable fact on the visual side today, and the issues with lag will only grow as we start to add haptics and a “tactile internet” to the mix. The problem is this: Simple incremental improvement in our current systems can’t deliver the latency we need, period. It’s time to drop the cardboard and step over to the whiteboard if we want to move forward.”



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