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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 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.

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