Google's radar-based motion sensors get OK from FCC

By Folake Dosu  |  January 10, 2019

IoT-Google-Soli-sensors

Google just scored a major win from U.S. regulators for Project Soli, its radar-based motion sensor.

CNBC reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the tech giant a waiver to operate the Soli sensors at higher power levels than current regulation allowed. The devices also received clearance for use aboard aircraft.

The FCC stated the decision “will serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology” and noted that users with mobility or speech impairments particularly could benefit from these sensors.

By pressing an invisible button between the thumb and index fingers or turning a virtual dial by rubbing a thumb against the index finger, Google says users experience interactions that “feel physical and responsive.” 

By pressing an invisible button between the thumb and index fingers or turning a virtual dial by rubbing a thumb against the index finger, Google says users experience interactions that “feel physical and responsive.” According to Google, Soli can be embedded in wearables, phones, computers and vehicles.

CNBC says that last March Google requested that the FCC permit its short-range interactive motion sensing Soli radar to operate in the 57- to 64-GHz frequency band. This range would adhere to European Telecommunications Standards Institute standards.

Facebook alerted the FCC of potential issues of Soli sensors being inoperable at higher power levels, raising concerns that the devices would disrupt other technologies.

Google and Facebook would later tell the FCC in September that the power levels for the sensors could be raised, but at lower levels than Google had in mind earlier.

At that time, Facebook also told the FCC that it anticipated a “variety of use cases to develop with respect to new radar devices, including Soli.”

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