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Google Pixel Watch's fall detection will call for help if the user takes a hard fall

The Google Pixel Watch with different bands

Google is now rolling out fall detection capability on its Google Pixel Watch with built-in motion sensors that will determine the severity of the fall through on-device machine learning. They will also provide ways to deal with emergencies in case the user has taken a hard fall.

With the latest update, in case of a hard fall, the Watch will ask its wearer to respond within a certain time frame. If the individual does not react or move in 30 seconds, the Watch will vibrate, sound an alarm, and show an on-screen notification to check whether the user is alright. The screen notification will ask the wearer to tap “I’m OK” or “I fell & need help,” depending on their situation. If the latter is chosen, emergency services will be called to send help.

Fall detection on Google Pixel Watch

If none of the choices is chosen, the Watch alarm will continue to ring for a minute, getting louder each time. In case of no response, the emergency services will be called automatically, and an automated message will play requesting help wherever the user is present. Otherwise, the individual can speak to the emergency operator and update them on their state.

Google describes the feature in a blog post by stating:

“Worried that doing burpees or hitting the ski slopes will trigger an accidental emergency call? Your Pixel Watch knows the difference between taking a hard fall and performing a vigorous physical activity or even quickly recovering from a small stumble — thanks to our machine learning algorithms and rigorous testing. The motion sensors and algorithms can monitor for a sudden impact and your body’s responses and instinctive reactions to falling. 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.

We also tested this feature against high-energy activities that involved impact, sudden drop or excessive arm movements — think activities like burpees, jumping or swimming — to avoid those types of activities from triggering a false notification. And we worked with emergency dispatch services to test that calls were smoothly connected and the automated messages were as helpful as possible for everyone involved.”

The feature can be turned on from the Pixel Watch in the Personal Safety app or the ‘Updates’ page on the Watch Companion app. Users can also toggle on a “Help improve fall detection” setting, enabling Google to collect motion sensor data of events that have been detected as falls to improve the capability. Users can choose to turn fall detection off at any time as well.

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