Fall detection has become an essential feature in smartwatches, helping people stay safe and get help in the event of a fall. Apple added the feature to the Apple Watch in 2018, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch followed suit in 2020. Now, Google is joining the fray with the addition of fall detection to the Google Pixel Watch.
Rolling out starting today, the fall detection feature on the Pixel Watch uses motion sensors built into the watch and on-device machine learning to detect when the wearer has taken a hard fall. If the watch detects that the wearer is not moving or responding within a certain timeframe, it will vibrate, sound an alarm, and display an on-screen notification to check on the wearer. If the wearer is okay, they can tap “I’m OK” on the watch face to dismiss the notification. If they need help, they can tap “I fell & need help” to be connected to emergency services immediately.
The fall detection feature on the Pixel Watch is smart enough to differentiate between a hard fall and other physical activities like burpees, jumping, or swimming. The watch uses machine learning algorithms and rigorous testing to monitor sudden impacts and the wearer’s responses to falling. Google tested the feature against a broad range of human and simulated fall data and other motion patterns to accurately detect real falls and minimize false alarms.
Google also worked with emergency dispatch services to ensure that calls were smoothly connected and the automated messages were helpful for everyone involved. Users who set up fall detection can toggle on a setting called “Help improve fall detection,” allowing Google to collect motion sensor data from events detected as falls to make future improvements for this feature. Users can turn off fall detection at any time if they no longer want the feature enabled.
In addition to fall detection, the Personal Safety app on Pixel phones includes other safety features such as car crash detection and emergency broadcast notifications. The Emergency SOS feature on Pixel Watch alerts emergency responders or trusted contacts when the wearer is in an emergency or feeling unsafe.