Google gets go ahead for touchless tech plans

Written by Hannah McGrath
02/01/2019

Google’s project to build touchless tech computers controlled by hand gestures has received the green light to operate sensors at higher frequencies by US regulators.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Monday that it would allow the Alphabet-owned company to continue to operate and test sensors for Project Soli, a radar-based technology which aims to enable virtual control by sensing the motion of fingers.

Announcing the launch of testing for Project Soli in 2015, Google said “even though these controls are virtual, the interactions feel physical and responsive", as feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching.

The company had applied for permission in March to allow short-range interactive motion-sensing Soli radar to operate in the 57-64 Ghz frequency -in line with European Standards- in order to continue testing the technology.

Since then Google has been locked in discussions with Facebook, which had objected to the waiver application, arguing that operating in the higher spectrum band could interfere with other technologies and applications.

In September, Google and the social media giant told the FCC that they had reached a compromise agreement on power levels they were prepared to accept, although at a lower level than Google had initially requested.

A statement from the FCC said the decision would “serve the public interest by providing for innovative device control features using touchless hand gesture technology”.

National Technology News has contacted Google for comment.