Google has managed to fit a tiny Project Soli chip into the Pixel 4 XL smartphone, which also uses an 90Hz OLED screen made by Samsung.
Repair experts at iFixit.com have teken the Pixel 4 Xl smartphone appart and identified the Project Soli chip. The radar chip is actually very small in size, and it has been designed to interpret your gestures using the power of radar. Manufactured by Infineon, Google calls the implementation of its in-house Project Soli "Motion Sense."
Motion Sense works by emitting precisely tuned waves of electromagnetic energy. When those waves bounce off of something, some of them reflect back to the antenna.
The Soli chip then studies the reflected waves and analyzes their time delay, frequency shift, and other data to learn the characteristics of the object that reflected them—how big it is, how fast it's moving, in which direction, etc.
Soli then runs that data against Google’s home-grown machine learning and newly created gesture database to determine what action, if any, needs to be performed in the OS.
Google’s so-called Soli chip and its underlying hardware technologies were developed by Infineon Technologies, not Google.
Infineon's XENSIV 60 GHz radar chip is at the "heart" of Soli. This 60 GHz radar sensor can track sub-millimeter motion at high speed and accuracy. It has a 180-degree field of view.
The Soli radar chips, complete with RF front-end, baseband and ADCs, are fabricated at Infineon's 300mm-wafer fab in Dresden using a BiCMOS process.
Google wanted the radar chip to be as small as possible, small enough to fit inside a smartphone. Infineon managed to squeeze it down from an 15mm x 12mm radar chip to a 6mm x 5mm chip.
Google also demanded super efficiency in power consumption. While it depends on use cases, the power consumption of the 60 GHz radar chip now is down to between 1mW and 10mW. In some use case, it consumes only 0.5mW.
Google owns the entire software for the Soli. The way the antennas send and receive signals and the algorithms that interpret the signals are Google’s IPs. For its part, Infineon owns all the hardware-related radar technology IPs.
One other interesting information discovered by iFixit is that Samsung's Display subsidiary manufactured the Pixel 4's seemingly inscrutable 90Hz OLED screen panel. Notably, none of Samsung's current devices include a higher refresh rate screen, though clearly the company has the ability to add the feature.