Following the Tuesday announcement, Google is rolling out Fall Detection to the Pixel Watch.
How it works
The Pixel Watch uses motion sensors and on-device machine learning to detect “hard falls.” When enabled, it will “monitor for a sudden impact and your body’s responses and instinctive reactions to falling.”
When a fall is detected, the Pixel Watch will wait 30 seconds (for further movement) before vibrating, sounding an alarm, and showing a full-screen alert that asks if you want to call for help.
If you don’t tap “I’m OK” within 60 seconds (with the alarm getting louder), your Pixel Watch will automatically call emergency services. “I fell & need help” will initiate the process sooner. The operator will hear the following, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk to them:
You are being contacted by an automated emergency voice service on behalf of a caller.
The caller’s watch detected a possible fall, and they were unresponsive. Please send help.
Their location is 12.039578 degrees latitude, -121.947872 degrees longitude.
This message will repeat 3 times.
How to set up
Once rolled out to your device, you’ll get an alert in the Updates tab to “Set up Fall detection.” “Learn more” takes you directly to the settings page, which can also be accessed from Watch preferences > Safety & Emergency.
The Fall detection page presents you with two toggles:
- Use fall detection: Your Pixel Watch can detect when you’ve had a hard fall and call the emergency services
- Help improve fall detection: Help improve Google products by automatically sending usage info and fall detection reports to Google
The second option is off by default, and works by “sharing motion sensor data with Google.” The data is not tied to your Google Account or personally identifiable, and just used to “make future improvements to Fall detection for everybody and will not be used for any other purpose.”
Pixel Watch LTE vs. Wi-Fi
- Google Pixel Watch Wi-Fi needs to be in range of your phone and connected with Bluetooth for your phone to call emergency services. You will not be able to talk to emergency services from your watch if your watch is not connected to a phone through Bluetooth.
- Google Pixel Watch LTE needs an active LTE connection on your watch to call emergency services without your phone nearby.
Hard falls vs. exercise
Google says the Pixel Watch can distinguish between a hard fall and exercise — like burpees, jumping, swimming, and other vigorous physical activity — to avoid false notifications. The company tested Fall Detection against high-energy activities with “impact, sudden drop or excessive arm movements.”
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.
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