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.

LED Strips Idea Generation (Fabian and Zhou Yang)

Team members: Zhou Yang and Fabian

We were tasked to generate ideas to explore the possibilities we can create with LED strip.

The following are the ideas we generated:

Idea 1:

The LED strip is used as markers on a table to indicate that a seat is taken by someone. The inspiration comes from people using tissue paper packs to indicate a seat is taken. We feel it will be interesting to use LED strips to indicate instead.

Idea 2:

This is a game concept with players playing tug of war with the heartbeat. There will be sensors recording the player’s heart rate through the pulse and it will be reflected on the LED strip. The higher heart rate, the more LED lights it will occupy to the opposite direction. Both sides will compete who has the higher heart rate. Once either side has his/her LED lights representing the heart rate reaching the other end, he/she is the winner. In order for the heart rate to increase, the pair can perform activities such as watching a horror movie or going for a jog.

Idea 3:

We got inspiration from the magic wands of Harry Potter. The LED strips will be on the magic wands of the players indicating their life points. A library of words will be loaded on the Arduino program and into the LED strip set up on the magic wands. The player can attack another player through shouting words in the working band loaded on the Arduino set up. The set up will consist of sound sensors to detect the sounds produced by the players. The lights on the LED strips will be activated by the sound produced by players. The more difficult a word is the more damage it will “inflict” on other players. A player “dies” once all his/her lights on the LED strip is lighted up.

Idea 4:

The idea consists of installations with flashlight equipped with sensors. Once the sensors detect people walking past them, the flashlight will be activated and produce flashes on the passing people. The idea is inspired by traffic camera catching speeding vehicles.

Idea 5:

The idea is inspired by the traditional game catching. The catcher will wear shoes with red LED lights. The healer will wear shoes with yellow LED lights. The rest of the players will wear shoes with orange LED lights. All the shoes will have sound sensors attached to them. The catcher upon getting close to a player will stomp his/her shoes. If the shoes of the catcher and his/her victim are close enough, the sound sensors will be triggered. The LED lights of the victim will change. The healer can change the players that are caught through stomping his/her shoes near the affected players to “save” him/her.