Google’s biggest shocker of I/O 2015 is yet to come

Amidst Google’s new VR venture with GoPro, smart-home platform, and Android M, you could be excused for entirely missing one of the most exciting unveils at Google I/O 2015. It wasn’t even in the keynote. But on Thursday, Google’s Advanced Projects and Technology team quietly showed off two impressive technologies that are poised to turn some heads when they get their full unveiling tomorrow: Project Soli and Project Jacquard.

The first is a motion-detecting technology that promises “sub-millimeter” accuracy, and the second, a touch-sensitive fabric. Tight-lipped Google engineers showed off prototypes of both technologies at the first day of I/O, but neither had really been hammered into an enticing product. Tomorrow, they promise, we’ll see some incredible applications, and Google’s event schedule heaps on the hype. Google says we’re in for “wearables that we hope will blow your socks off,” a description it means “more literally than you might think…”

So touch-sensitive socks, then? Hopefully not, but the Jacquard technology we saw in action had some interesting possibilities. Small touch panels, maybe two inches square, were literally woven into a roll of fabric draped across a table so long that it wouldn’t look out of place on Game of Thrones. Though not quite as sensitive as the touchpad on a modern laptop, they could interpret crude gestures, like swiping to change a song or tapping to turn on lights. Could your next pair of jeans control your phone without even taking it out of them?

Project Soli, meanwhile, looks not unlike the Leap Motion controller we already know. But if that device lets you play Fruit Ninja, Soli should let you play Fruit Surgeon. One of its developers, almost giddy, claimed that it’s capable of “sub millimeter” accuracy. That takes on new meaning when you consider that Google has promised Friday morning’s ATAP presentation will “break the tension between the ever-shrinking screen sizes necessary to make electronics wearable and our ability to have rich interactions with them.” How about a smartwatch you can control without ever touching the screen, but with such precision you could tap the space between two letters?

It’s impossible to tell what Google has in store, but after today’s early tease, we’re certain of one thing: we’ll be there. Make sure to check back with us for the full story on the ATAP team’s projects tomorrow!

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Computing

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.