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This article was published on May 23, 2017

Watch Google’s Soli radar sensor turn into a trippy musical instrument

Matthew Hughes
Story by

Matthew Hughes

Former TNW Reporter

Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twi Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.

Straight out of Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects Group) comes Soli, a brand new sensing device that uses radar to track movement in real-time. The technology is small enough to fit in a wearable device, and can identify movement and gestures, bringing the type of Minority Report-style interfaces a little bit closer to reality.

One of the most interesting uses of the Soli sensor is as a musical instrument, which is precisely what three academics have created, figuring out how to use the system for musical interaction. You can check it out in the video above.

You can see how, simply by moving the hand, a user is able to create a variety of sounds. Some are decidedly electronic-sounding, while others closely replicate the noise of organs and string instruments.

The device in this video, unfortunately, isn’t available for sale at the moment. It’s just a prototype created for a research paper, which is worth reading if you want to find out how this project came about came about.

That’s a shame, because I’d love to see what someone like Brian Eno, Olafur Arnalds, or Philip Glass would do with it. I bet it’d be pretty memorable.

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