Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Google’s new Pixel 4 phone will be the first to use its Soli gesture tech

A hand demonstration of how Soli's radar technology works
A hand demonstration of how Soli's radar technology worksGoogle

The technology is going to be embedded in the new phone and will likely pop up across a range of devices in the future.

The news: The phone will be the first product from Google to use Soli technology. The system will let people skip songs, snooze alarms, or silence phone calls with just a wave of the hand, according to a blog post and video teasing the upcoming launch of Google’s latest smartphone this fall.

So, what is Soli? Google has essentially developed a miniature radar system. It will sit at the top of the smartphone and sense small motions around it. Google has combined the sensor with algorithms that can detect motion and recognize gestures. Radar means Soli can work through fabric, or in the dark. The technology was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in January this year, paving the way for it to go on the market.

Long time coming: Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team has been working on Soli for years (it was first publicly debuted back in 2015). It’s likely the Pixel 4 is just the start of a wider plan to embed the technology in lots of Google products, such as smart watches, smart speakers like Google Home, high-tech door panels and light switches, and even AR headsets.

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Deep Dive

Silicon Valley

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history

What happens when the world’s knowledge is held in a quasi-public square owned by a private company that could soon go out of business?

Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over

Estimates from Bot Sentinel suggest that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended.

Former Twitter employees fear the platform might only last weeks

An ultimatum by Elon Musk demanding "extremely hardcore" working culture appears to have backfired. Insiders fear this could spell the end without drastic changes.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.