Device of the Week 3: Project Soli – Controlling devices using hand gestures

Project Soli: Controlling devices using hand gestures

It is a gesture sensing technology by Google ATAP (Advanced Technology And Project group) for human-computer interaction. It uses miniature radar technology with sensors that will keep track of gestures made by human hands and fingers. The sensors track these gestures at high speed with detailed accuracy. It allows a rich variety of interaction. For example, the sliding of thumb would indicate the action of scrolling and tapping of thumb would indicate selecting of objects. Such interactive actions can be relevant in areas such as computer gaming and controlling of household appliances. It has the potential to move the users away from physical controllers and allows them to interact with the technological environment using gestures performed by their hands and fingers.

Product Visualisation

Pros and Cons of the Device


1. This technology gives people the ability to move away from the use of controllers or any physical gadgets which could lead to many possibilities. It could have a huge impact on areas such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It will allow users to have a greater immersive experience as they are free from holding onto any physical inputs.

2. The physical representation of the technology is tiny. (See attached photos as reference.) This makes it potentially relevant to be integrated into technological wearable devices such as smartwatch and smartphone. With its small physical size, it can also be embedded into non-wearables devices or even daily household objects.


1. Gestures made by hands and fingers of different individuals are organically different. It will be a challenge for Soli to determine the intentions of the different gestures made by different individuals. It should also take into consideration users with hand and/or finger disability.

2. The experience of using physical mediums such as controllers for interaction had to be around for a long period of time. The implementation of Soli technology will means the absence of physical means in our interaction with the technological environment. As this is still a new developing technology, its effect on the experience of interaction for the users is still unknown and can only be realized in the long run.

Suggestion for alternate use and/or modification

Though Soli is still at an experimental stage of its development, its size and flexibility of the technology offer plenty of possibilities. I believe as time and technology progress, it will potentially be integrated into our technological environment with its favorable interactive characteristics. With ATAP’s plan of offering development kit for developers, it really will be up to the collective effort of ATAP and the developers to help transform the idea into a finalized product and into our home.

Glitch Project: School of Athens

School of Athens

Raphael Sanzio’s fresco The School of Athens is a masterpiece that symbolize the harmony within the art, philosophy and science which was the milestone of the Italian Renaissance. It was painted and completed between 1509 and 1511.

Is education still relevant?

The true function of attending school and having an education is for one to thinking intensively and critically. That is the goal of having a true education and leading a desirable life. However, in this age of technology, are we able to stick to this pure belief in the mist of the distraction and chaos produced by the technological world we are living in?


Multimodal Senses: SOS signal hand cover (Fabian & Zhou Yang)

The team (Fabian & Zhou Yang) is inspired by Morse code. It is a type of character encoding system used in telecommunication. It conveys information through two different signal duration called dots and dashes. Through the use of short and long duration of vibration produced from a vibrator which correspond to the dots and dashes of the Morse code, we hope to convey information to our users.

Basic understanding of Morse code. 

Concept sketch


We took references for the code of the vibrator from various sites to aid in our prototyping.

Vibrator motor

We use the following vibrator motor for our prototyping process:


The following are the problems we faced during the prototyping phases:

  1. How do we gauge the complexity of the vibration combinations to not make it too complicated for the users?
  2. Can the users be conditioned to remember the vibration combination over a period of time?

Testing of vibrator motor

Code for the vibrator motor

Final arduino circuit

User testing

We tested out the final prototype.

We managed to condition ourselves to remember the different vibration combinations for the different functions. However, it took sometime for us to remember them. At the beginning, it was confusing to differential between the long and short vibrations. However, after some practice we are fine. 

Problems faced

The following are the challenges we faced while prototyping:

  1. Figuring and setting the delays between the vibrations to imitate the dots and dashes of Morse code.
  2. Adjusting the complexity of the vibration combinations for the user.