Mysterious Google Device with Soli Radar Technology Passes Through FCC


Google I/O

On June 18, IT Home reported a development catching the attention of tech enthusiasts and industry insiders. A mysterious “wireless device” from Google has surfaced in the documents of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), suggesting that Soli radar technology is poised for new applications. This article delves into the details of the device, the technology it incorporates, and the speculation surrounding its potential use.

Google Soli radar device

The Device and Its Capabilities

The mysterious Google device supports short-range 60GHz Soli radar technology, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, it comes with a base plate, further intriguing those trying to decipher its purpose.

Soli Radar Technology

Soli radar is a 60GHz millimeter-wave radar product developed collaboratively by Google and Infineon Technologies. Google handles the signal processing and software, while Infineon provides the chip hardware technology. Soli radar is designed for close-range perception tasks, enabling devices to understand and respond to user gestures without physical contact.

The first generation of Soli chips debuted in 2016, with subsequent innovative applications emerging from Google’s developer program in collaboration with universities and developers worldwide. The second generation, released in 2018, found practical use in the Pixel 4’s gesture recognition module and the Nest Hub’s sleep monitoring function.

Connectivity and Design

The device supports only the 2.4GHz and 60GHz bands, suggesting a specific use case that does not require the broader capabilities of the 5GHz band. The inclusion of a base plate hints at a stationary device, possibly requiring a fixed power source, given the absence of any mention of a battery.

Google Soli radar device

Speculation on the Device’s Purpose

The FCC documents provide limited information, leading to various speculations about the device’s intended use. The hottest guess at the moment is that it could be a new Nest smart thermostat. Here are the leading theories:

Nest Smart Thermostat

The most popular theory is that the device is a new version of the Nest smart thermostat. The current Nest thermostat, released in 2020, supports the 2.4GHz and 60GHz frequency bands and uses Soli radar to detect user proximity, automatically lighting up its display. The presence of a base plate fits the design of a wall-mounted or bracket-placed thermostat. The lack of a battery suggests it needs a continuous power supply, which is consistent with thermostats.

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Pixel Watch 3

Another possibility is that the device could be the upcoming Pixel Watch 3. One of the earliest prototypes demonstrating Soli technology was a smartwatch. The Google Watch does not typically use the 5GHz band, and for a Wi-Fi-only version, 2.4GHz, Bluetooth, and Soli capabilities are sufficient. The base could function as a charger. However, Google indicated that the device would keep a distance of at least 20 cm from the human body during normal use, which aligns more with the Nest smart thermostat than a wearable device.

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Other Potential Uses

While the smart thermostat and smartwatch are the leading theories, other possibilities include new types of smart home devices or innovative health monitoring gadgets. The unique combination of Soli radar and specific frequency bands opens up numerous potential applications, from advanced gesture controls to precise motion sensing.

Implications of Soli Radar Integration

Soli radar technology’s integration into new devices underscores Google’s commitment to advancing user interaction through non-contact methods. Soli’s capability to perceive fine movements and gestures without physical contact offers a futuristic approach to device control. This enhances convenience and accessibility.

Enhanced User Interaction

The use of Soli radar can significantly improve user interaction by allowing more intuitive and natural gestures. For instance, users could control their smart home devices with simple hand movements, making everyday tasks more seamless and efficient.

Broader Technological Impact

Soli’s applications extend beyond consumer electronics to potentially include areas such as healthcare, where non-invasive monitoring and control are crucial. The technology’s ability to detect subtle movements can lead to new innovations in patient care and remote health monitoring.

Conclusion

The appearance of a mysterious Google device in FCC documents, equipped with Soli radar technology, has sparked widespread speculation and excitement. While the exact nature of the device remains uncertain, the possibilities range from a new Nest smart thermostat to an advanced smartwatch. As Google continues to explore and expand Soli radar’s capabilities, the boundaries of user interaction and device control are set to be redefined. This development not only highlights Google’s innovative approach but also promises to bring a new level of convenience and sophistication to everyday technology.

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