Showing posts with label Project Ara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Project Ara. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Google built a tiny radar system into a smartwatch for gesture controls


Google’s Tiny Radar Chips in Electronics – Controlling Digital World

In a conference room at an important tech corporation like Google, Ivan Poupyrey who works at Google’s ATAP research lab had posed a question on `How are you going to interact with an invisible computer? Poupyrey a technical project lead for Project Soli which has been designed to prove that we can embed tiny radar chips in electronics so that minute hand gestures could be utilised in controlling the digital world around us.

Advanced Technologies and Projects – ATAP is a division within Google which is at crossroads. Formerly led by Regina Dugan of DARPA recognition together with her influence had led the division to stream technologies which would range from modular phones – Project Ara, to real time 3D mapping- Tango, to cinematic, live-action virtual reality movies – Spotlight Stories.

Earlier in the year she had left for Facebook and hence it was a question whether the project left behind by her would continue. Tango had progressed into Google while Ara seemed stuck in the muck. However, the Jacquard touch-sensitive fabric project together with the Soli is yet at ATAP whereas Soli has at least a new and a remarkable goal, creating the industry as well as the project language for radar-enabled consumer electronics.

Radar to Work in SmartWatch

For this reason, Poupyrey had engaged his team to prepare for more than just experiment so as to ascertain that radar can work in a smart watch. Poupyrey had commented that if one can put something in a smartwatch, you could put it anywhere. So ATAP had redesigned the Soli chip in order to make it smaller and pull less power. It then redesigned it to do the same thing again and again.

Eventually according to Hakin Raja, lead hardware and production engineer of Soli, the team developed the smallest of the chips which is a tiny sliver one could balance on the pinky toenail, with four antennas which tend to offer full duplex communication in sending and receiving radar beeps. The first duplication of Soli shipped in a development kit, drew 1.2w of power while this one tends to draw 0.054 w x 22x reduction. But developing a chip which is small tends to have some setback. Radar had been designed to identify massive flying metal objects from miles away, not tiny millimetre movement from finger just inches away.

Logical to Convert Spatial Signal Radar into Temporal One

Till recently, no one was concerned about the power draw at this scale and no one had to deal with believing what the signal would look like when it had shrunk down. Lead research engineer for Soli is Jaime Lien and it is her task to tune the machine learning procedures which get hardwired in the chip. Her main understanding was that it was logical to convert the spatial signal radar provided into a temporal one, tends to make sense on a computer.

But the same was nothing when compared to noise pollution and one would run into these small scales. She portrayed a vast set of screenshots of all types of impenetrable noise which her processes need to locate signal and at these scales it seems impossible to do any kind of beam forming. Moreover the electrons running through the chip need to be accounted for.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Google's Modular Ara Phone Delayed


Google’s Project Ara Delayed – 2016

Google has delayed its plan in releasing its modular smartphone concept, codenamed `Project Ara’ hardware till sometime in 2016. The Ara team had tweeted a messaging confirming the delay and shift away from plans to test the modular phone project, later this year, in Puerto Rico. However Google had been quick to note that it is in the process of exploring few locations in the US for Ara.

The explanation for the change by Google recommends that the team had been working hard in making Ara a reality. The team had told followers in a sequence of tweets,that `Project Ara is not going anywhere’, but had been set back by `lots of iteration, more than we thought’. Project Ara enables users to swap out as well as upgrade the core components of smartphone namely processor, camera etc. independently instead of replacing the complete device.

It portrayed a dramatic rethinking of the device and those attending the Google I/O were pleased when the working prototype was showed on stage in May by the company. The development of the product seems to be longer than expected but Google had earlier aimed to have between 20 and 30 Ara modules made available for the now scrapped Puerto Rico trial.

Components Can be Added/Taken Away

Project Ara seems to be Google’s interesting efforts in developing a smartphone which comes in bits, which means that certain components could be added or taken away without the requirements of complex alterations to the device. It would also be less costly to replace smashed screens or worn batteries as well as enable others to develop modified hardware for a particular task.

San Francisco based designer Garrett Kinsman while writing on a forum for developers who were interested in working on Project Ara, had said that he felt a sense of overwhelming sadness at the delay. The Project Ara team had announced at the beginning of this year that it would launch the modular smartphones this year in Puerto Rico as a part of its pilot program.

But the team has now confirmed that its phone will not launch till 2016 along with the announcement of pilot market re-route to a few locations in the US instead of Puerto Rico.

DIY Smartphone

The company has not yet revealed any particular location in the US where it intends launching modular phones. In a tweet, it said, `when? 2016’, followed by the hastags yes we are late and Project Ara - #yeswearelate and #ProjectAra.Project Ara further clarifies that the re-routing does not seem to mean that there would be no modular phone launched in Puerto Rico. It stated that `and this is not goodbye Puerto Rico’. The project expects to kick-start an era of do-it-yourself smartphones which Google has been stressing that it is not targeting weeds.

Google had showcased its Spiral 2 modular smartphone prototype in January Project Ara Spiral 2 prototypek had a HD – 720x1280 pixels screen, choice of Nvidia Tegra K1 or Marvel PX1928 processor, 5-megapixel primary camera, battery, Micro-USB port, speaker as well as connectivity options which included Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G. The Spiral 2 prototype comprised of 11 working modules inclusive of 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Receiver with light as well as proximity sensors, USB charger module and a 2x2 battery module. Spiral 3 also tends to feature the electro permanent magnets in the exoskeleton, thereby saving space in the modules.