Alphabet’s Google unit won approval from US regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli
On Monday, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in an order late that it would grant Google an exemption to operate Soli sensors at power levels higher than currently permitted. The FCC said the sensors can also be operated on board aircraft.
The FCC said the decision “will serve the public interest by providing innovative control features for devices that use contact-less hand gesture technology.”
The FCC said the Soli sensor captures motion in a three-dimensional space using a radar beam to enable touchless control of functions or features that can benefit users with mobility or speech impairments.
Google says the sensor can allow users to press an invisible button between the thumb and index fingers or a virtual dial that turns by rubbing a thumb against the index finger.
The company says that “even though these controls are virtual, the interactions feel physical and responsive” as feedback is generated by the haptic sensation of fingers touching.
Google says the virtual tools can approximate the precision of natural human hand motion and the sensor can be embedded in wearables, phones, computers and vehicles.
In March, Google asked the FCC to allow its short-range interactive motion-sensing Soli radar to operate in the 57- to 64-GHz frequency band at power levels consistent with European Telecommunications Standards Institute standards.
The Soli devices can be operated aboard aircraft but must still comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules governing portable electronic devices.