Smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch have been able to detect when you fall over for quite a while, but one watch that’s been missing the feature since its launch is the Pixel Watch from Google. That’s changing today with a new software update that adds the feature to the relatively enjoyable $349 Wear OS watch.
Fall detection, delivering on Google’s promise to arrive in winter 2023, is rolling out now to all Pixel Watch owners over the air. The feature uses the watch’s sensors and machine learning to detect a hard, accidental fall. It then triggers a minute-long alarm and calls emergency services if you aren’t moving for about 30 seconds. If you’re able to get yourself up, you’ll find two buttons on the screen that’ll either let you contact emergency services right away or dismiss the alert entirely.
Google says its ML algorithms are smart enough to tell the difference between a hard fall and something like a burpee, where you’re falling pretty hard but completely on purpose. That’s a big concern for people who want to leave the feature on in case of an emergency, but are no stranger to sudden movements during certain activities. “The motion sensors and algorithms can monitor for a sudden impact and your body’s responses and instinctive reactions to falling,” according to Google’s blog post. “We trained this process using a broad variety of human and simulated fall data and other motion patterns to accurately detect real falls and minimize potential false alarms.”
Granted, false positives are generally rare in the smartwatch market, with both the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch incredibly hard to trick. I’m not sure if Google’s watch has the same ability, but I’ll definitely test it out once the feature’s reached my Pixel Watch.
To get the feature to work, you’ll need to turn it on manually. Google says the setting to enable it should appear in the Watch companion app on your phone, but it can also appear in the Personal Safety app on the Pixel Watch itself. There’s no word on which regions will get the feature first, so it looks like you’ll need to sit tight and wait for it to roll out.
Google also says it worked with emergency dispatchers to ensure each SOS call is “smoothly connected and the automated messages [are] as helpful as possible for everyone involved.”
Google has finally added fall detection to the Pixel Watch! This feature is great because it means that if you accidentally fall, you don’t have to worry about getting up and calling for help. This is a huge step forward for the smartwatch industry, and I’m sure that everyone will love it.
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