Just last month, Made by Google tweeted a teaser image of the upcoming Google Pixel 4 smartphone and today, it expand the tease some more. However, this time, Made by Google has given us the first look at one of the tech that will be in the Pixel 4. The tech is called Motion Sense developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team. Motion Sense is essentially a miniature radar.
Yes. The Radar. The detection system that uses radio waves to nail down the range, angle and even the speed of an object is now coming to smartphone. Don’t ask me about the implication of radiation. I have absolutely no idea if it is medically harmful to us, humans. Anyways, the ‘radar’, called Soli, is packed up top alongside a bunch of other sensors, including Face unlock IR cameras, Ambient Light/Proximity sensor, Face unlock Dot Projector, and of course, the front-facing camera itself. Here’s what Soli motion-sensing radar is about:
“We’ve developed a miniature version located at the top of Pixel 4 that senses small motions around the phone, combining unique software algorithms with the advanced hardware sensor, so it can recognize gestures and detect when you’re nearby.”
Pixel 4 will be the first device to feature Soli and with it, you will be able to do things like skip songs, snooze alarms, and silence phone calls, all by waving your hand. It will be particularly useful if you have the device on a dock. However, it is pretty much it. It makes no sense to wave at your phone when your other hand is holding it. Before you get ga-ga over it, Soli will, apparently, be available in select Pixel countries. So, it is still too early to tell if the Pixel specific to your country will have this feature.
Along with Soli, the upcoming Pixel is also getting Face unlock. Understanding that Face unlock isn’t new, Google is quick to say that they are “engineering it differently.” It is Google’s way of say, ours is more high-tech and it looks to be the case. Here’s how:
“Other phones require you to lift the device all the way up, pose in a certain way, wait for it to unlock, and then swipe to get to the home screen. Pixel 4 does all of that in a much more streamlined way. As you reach for Pixel 4, Soli proactively turns on the face unlock sensors, recognizing that you may want to unlock your phone. If the face unlock sensors and algorithms recognize you, the phone will open as you pick it up, all in one motion. Better yet, face unlock works in almost any orientation—even if you’re holding it upside down—and you can use it for secure payments and app authentication too.”
Like fingerprint sensor, Face unlock also faces (pun not intended, btw) is processed on the device and so, no image data never leaves the device. It will not be shared with other Google services either. The same applies to Soli as well. As far as Pixel is concerned, face data will be securely stored in Titan M security chip.
While Soli and Google’s iteration of Face unlock sounds promising and enticing even, but personally, it will not make me overlook the potentially awful design feature. Sorry Google, that’s just the way it is. Aesthetic is always the first thing anyone will see first every time a person picks up a phone. That’s a cold hard truth.