Your Hands: Remote Controls of the Future

Can you imagine controlling a device without touching it? For instance, turning up the volume on your iPod or switching on your cellphone through mere finger motions?

Nowadays, electronic tools or ‘gadgets’, as commonly referred to, play a fundamental role in everyday activities; therefore, their handling techniques are required to include intuitive systems so as to make them more user friendly. Google is fully aware of such demand, hence it has banked for several years on the development of applications and products that enable people to interact with the digital world based on familiar and useful concepts.

This year in its annual conference ‘Google I/O’, the American company surprised developers, end users, and the media once again by launching Project Soli, a cuttin-edge experiment aimed at operating devices from a distance!

The aforementioned approach deploys miniature sensors capable of detecting hand gestures, including those made on a micro scale. In contrast to current video game consoles or TV screens, this enhanced technology distinguishes anything from slight moves –like pressing, separating, or joining the fingertips– to more complex signs –like horizontal scrolling– in order to identify and execute the specific task to which each of them is assigned on the gadgets.

Another significant difference between this system and today’s sensors is that the former does not require lenses or cameras to capture motion, since it uses radars, which are embedded in the devices, to spot the place where each action is performed.

It is common knowledge that the interconnection era we live in demands groundbreaking solutions whereby gadgets can adapt to our nature and lifestyle. Google’s proposal is a definite proof that constant changes are being made to deliver more easy-to-use appliances.

Project Soli is lead and managed by Dr. Ivan Poupyrev. Given that it is still on a development phase, it is not yet available to everyone; nonetheless, it provides both software engineers and technology innovators with a wide range of possibilities to explore.