Google's Project Soli, first demonstrated at I/O earlier this year, is making its way to developers — albeit very slowly to start. The company has sent out applications to what it says is "a small number of developers" who may be interested in receiving an alpha Soli dev kit. "It's very limited," a spokesperson said of this initial stage. "We are working on a larger solicitation later this year for the beta release." So no, for now Google isn't letting any random developer get in. But eventually the program will expand.
Project Soli comes from Google's ATAP group, and though it may at first seem like a far-off tech demo, Google has very real plans for what's been shown. Soli is powered by a super-tiny chip, and its radar-like capabilities can detect the most slight and minute movements of your finger.
It allows you to use a system that’s very high-bandwidth: your fingers. By detecting the location and movement of your fingers in space — right on down to using the doppler effect to detect speed — you can enable rich interactions. If the science works, it becomes a problem of defining the "vocabulary" of movements. Sliding your thumb against your finger could scroll, tapping them together could select, a flick could dismiss. ATAP is also approaching the problem of interaction bandwidth by providing a larger surface area using touch-sensitive fabric.
Don't miss our preview of Project Soli from I/O back in May, and it's also featured in the video above along with ATAP's other effort, Project Jacquard.