Google announced in a video tweet on Monday (July 29) that its upcoming Pixel 4 smartphone doesn’t need hands to operate it.
The video shows that people can use their faces to unlock the phone and can use hand gestures for other commands.
The phone uses a new technology called Soli, which is a motion-sensing radar located at the top of the Pixel 4. This new miniature radar leverages the same decades-old technology that is used to detect planes and other large objects, Google said on its blog.
Soli senses small motions around the phone using software algorithms in conjunction with the hardware sensor, and can recognize gestures and detect when people are nearby. It allows users to skip songs, snooze alarms and silence phone calls by waving a hand.
Google noted that its face unlock feature is engineered differently from other smartphones offering this attribute. With Pixel 4, users don’t have to wait for the phone to unlock or swipe to get to the home screen, nor do they have to lift the device and pose in a certain way, the blog said.
The phone opens when it is picked up, and Soli then turns on the face unlock sensors. The face unlock technology uses image data that is never saved or shared with other Google services, the blog indicated.
The Pixel 4, which is expected to be released this fall, can also be used for secure payments and app authentication.
In March, Google released its new voice recognition app for the Pixel, which works entirely offline. While voice recognition on smartphones is nothing new, there is always a slight delay when virtual assistants – such as Siri, Alexa and Google – respond to a user’s query. That happens because the data from the user’s voice has to travel from their phone to the service provider’s servers, where it is then analyzed and sent back. However, Google’s new technology is an end-to-end speech recognizer, compact enough to be kept on a phone.