Soli, Google’s new radar software reads and responds to human body language. The research aims to refine the radar technology of Soli, sensor-integrated software that responds to human behavior and movement.
The new radar software designed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) used proxemics to refine the Soli sensor, a sensor with embedded radar technology. The sensor uses electromagnetic waves to pick up on even subtle human body language and movements.
Proxemics is a study of human use of space and how changes in the population density can affect behavior, communication, and social interaction. It informs the branches of design that deal with ergonomics and space mediation. It also aids in the configuration of floor plans to harmonize instinctive human behavior with spatial experiences. Additionally, it can also develop technology to respond to our behavior and needs with human-like responses. The technology is currently used in Nest Hub smart display and Google Pixel 4. The Soli radar helps in sleep tracking and contactless, remote control technology. Further development by Google ATAP teams suggests the sensor data collected by Soli can be used to enable computers to recognize and respond to our daily movements.
According to Leonardo Giusti, head of design for ATAP, “We believe as technology becomes more present in our life, it’s fair to start asking technology itself to take a few more cues from us.”Google developers hoped to develop Soli to deliver the same energy as your mom turning the television off and covering you in a throw after you doze off on the couch. It is able to detect a user’s proximity to computers and personal smart devices, turning off as we walk away from its screen and turning back on once we’re in front of it again. The proximity sensors, the radar technology can also detect changes in body orientation, signaling the device whether the user will interact with it soon.The latest development may not help you wake up swaddled in a warm blanket, though it can find computers, smart devices acknowledging and responding to when you are in front of the screen and when you walk away or even when you doze off for a while.
Lauren Bedal, senior interaction designer at ATAP explained, “We were able to move in different ways, we performed different variations of that movement, and then—given this was a real-time system that we were working with—we were able to improvise and kind of build off of our findings in real-time.”
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