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Google gets FCC waiver to progress with Project Soli gesture controls

By Jules Wang January 2, 2019, 4:15 pm

Google has scored a key regulatory waiver that will allow its skunkworks initiative for contactless gesture-based user interfaces to work at extended ranges.

Business Insider reports that the FCC announced that Google could develop its movement-detecting radars for Project Soli to operate at higher power levels than its rules allow.

Google had asked the FCC in March for spectrum in the 57GHz and 64GHz range and permission to work at higher power levels to experiment with Soli. Facebook objected at first, raising concerns about how other devices on their airwaves may be affected. The proposed power levels were aligned with those allowed by European Telecommunications Stnadards Institute standards.

After extensive discussion, Google and Facebook filed a joint statement to ask the FCC that the Soli sensors operate above permissable power limits, but at levels below what was originally requested. Facebook separately said that it would also be developing products incorporating radar, potentially “including Soli.”

Soli would allow users to make gestures in the air to control devices by sensing the movement of limbs in certain formations such as turning an imaginary dial. Feedback would be provided through the air with haptics.

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