Google's "project" designation has graced many experimental products over the years like Project Fi and Project Ara. Some of those worked out, and others were relegated to the dustbin of history. You might have assumed Project Soli from Google I/O 2015 was in the latter category, but it's still kicking. Google just got an FCC waiver to continue work on its gesture control interface.
The original Project Soli demo was undeniably impressive, showing off shades of Minority Report with touchless interface controls. The Soli radar chip allowed Google's demo hardware to respond to hand movements like tapping two fingers together or twisting an imaginary knob. Project Soli came out of ATAP, the research division that Google separated from Motorola when it sold off the company to Lenovo. ATAP was also behind projects like Tango, Ara, and Jacquard. So, it maybe doesn't have the best track record for turning interesting ideas into real products. Still, Google continues to work on Project Soli.
We haven't heard much about Project Soli since that initial announcement, and the FCC approval may explain why. According to the new documents, the FCC has granted Google approval to continue working on Project Soli's "field disturbance sensor" at higher power levels than currently allowed. Google asked the FCC for this waiver in March 2018, which should allow for better sensor resolution and range. The FCC decided the potential benefit to the American public outweighed the potential risks of interference from the more powerful radar sensor. The FCC even approved Soli for use on aircraft.
Google's last mention of Project Soli came at I/O 2016 alongside the ill-fated Jacquard jacket. The company hasn't acknowledged the new FCC waiver, but perhaps we'll get a Soli update at I/O this year.