Google radar gesture sensor given OK by FCC

January 07, 2019 // By Peter Clarke
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a request from Google LLC for a waiver on the rules governing short-range motion sensing to allow the Project Soli field disturbance sensor to operate at higher levels than generally allowed. At the same time the FCC has ruled that the Soli sensor can be used on-board aircraft.

The Soli sensor has been developed by the Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) of the Google subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. A single chip incorporates the sensor and antenna array into a package that measures 8mm by10mm.

Google has developed the Soli sensor to capture hand gestures in 3D space to enable touchless control of personal electronics, such as smartwatches, smartphones, tablet and personal computers. The sensor is designed to operate in the unlicensed 57GHz to 64GHz band but can only do so if it operates below certain power levels and does not disturb the operation of other legitimate users of the band.

Google's waiver request asks for FCC rules to be relaxed to the power levels of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard EN 305 550. Google argued that the power levels in existing Commission’s rules are too restrictive and could impair Soli functionality.

As part of the process of reviewing the waiver request a number of companies sought additional information from Google with concerns over interference with Earth Exploration Satellite Service (EESS) and the radio astronomy service (RAS) and with 60GHz Wi-Gig networking and other short-range communications. In response Google has given assurances about output power , equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP), spectral density and duty cycle and has been granted waiver to operate at +13dBm EIRP, +10dBm transmitter conducted output power, and +13dBm/MHz power spectral density with a duty cycle no higher than 10 percent in any 33ms interval.

Although the FCC also granted waiver to allow the Soli sensor to be used in closed systems on-board aircraft it also noted that such a device would be subject to separate FAA controls.

Related links and articles:

Atap.google.com/soli/

http://www.fcc.gov/

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