Project Soli is back!

As reported recently in The Verge, Google recently gained federal approval to move forward with the development of a technology, code-named Project Soli,  that makes it possible for people to control devices with gestures. As you can see from the following video, Soli is compelling. Instead of tapping on screens, users can control devices with gestures such as moving their fingers:


Google has been developing Soli for years. But reportedly because of restrictions placed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Soli stalled. The problem was that the FCC restricted the technology to operate at lower power levels, which hurt Soli’s accuracy and range of possible gestures available. Now, those restrictions have been lifted.

Soli could be a step forward for immersive reality and the Internet of Things (IoT). Here are a few reasons why:

  • Soli decouples the user from a headset. As I blogged recently, headsets remain a major impediment to the uptake of immersive realities such as mixed reality and virtual reality. Headsets as we know them today are too bulky for consumers to begin using them in large numbers and with ease. With Soli, Google could embed mixed reality into a wearable device like a smart watch (or other wristwear) and have your gestures interact with digital content without having to hold controllers or even wear gloves.
  • Google offers a big playing field. Google’s vast ecosystem, encompassing apps such as Google Maps and YouTube, gives the company a major advantage. Google could test ways to make Soli a practical tool for using personal devices to accomplish tasks such as finding directions, changing routes, and doing searches. The possibilities become even more intriguing when you consider how Google could complement the gesture-based interface of Soli with the voice-based interface of Google Assistant and ARCore.

In fact, incorporating gesture-based interfaces with voice presents complicated challenges for experience designers, especially for syncing the two types of interfaces in a single and seamlessly stitched experience. I hope I have piqued your interest. I’ll be sharing more of our experiences as I continue to play around with these products!

What Businesses Should Do

These are obviously exciting times for emerging technologies, and businesses need to work harder to understand how interfaces such as gesture and voice play into their growth strategies – perhaps in tandem with their current products, services, and solutions or establishing a new product or marketplace to expand your business.  At Moonshot, we’re investigating increasingly more use cases for these technologies. We use tools such as design sprints to help businesses ideate and develop immersive reality products in a way that’s both budget-conscious and priority focused. I’d love to chat further about your ideas and how to get your business started with immersive reality. And for more insight into how to make immersive reality deliver value for your business, read our Executive Guide to Immersive Reality.

Mark Persaud

Mark Persaud

Practice Lead, Immersive Reality