Motion gestures might be the next fad in smartphones, which makes LG’s sudden withdrawal in the G8X ThinQ look rather premature. Although not the first, Google’s Motion Sense, based on its Soli radar technology, might be inspiring other manufacturers to try their hand as well, no pun intended. Unsurprisingly, Samsung may be one of those but a trademark filed in Europe could hint at how it will avoid the problems the beset the Pixel 4’s implementation.
Unlike previous implementations that simply repurposed front-facing cameras, the Pixel 4’s gesture-based Motion Sense utilized radar technology provided by Google’s Project Soli. Radar has long been used for more energy-efficient and more accurate object and motion detection and Soli itself promised such hand-waving controls for more than just phones, including clothes and other objects.
Unfortunately, radar technology is quite distinct from the wireless communication that smartphones already posses and requires a different set of certifications per country. If that wasn’t enough to slow down adoption, Motion Sense required special API that Google isn’t yet too keen on giving third-party developers. Probably because of the former legal restriction as well.
Samsung may be adopting an older approach to get around at least the certification part. It filed for an ISOCELL-Motion trademark in Europe that is to be applied for motion detection sensors and camera image sensors for smartphones and tablets. Given it uses the ISOCELL name, it’s more likely to be an imaging sensor rather than some radar-based technology like Soli.
How Samsung plans to implement that is, of course, still unknown but a motion detector that uses its ISOCELL technology could hit two birds with one stone. For one, it could skip the lengthy process of getting certification for new technology. For another, it could potentially avoid having to use a second sensor if the single front-facing sensor is all that’s needed.