Google’s new Nest Hub uses radar to ‘watch’ (and improve) your sleep


Google is updating its original smart display, the Nest Hub, to a brand new version today. While not that different on the outside, it is a significant update, with improvements to the software, speakers, and processor. But the biggest difference is a whole new feature: the new Nest Hub can track your sleep patterns via radar.

Yes, you read that right: the Nest Hub is able to track restful sleep thanks to its radar-based Soli technology. After wowing everyone with its initial potential and then disappointing everyone with its implementation in the Pixel 4, Google hasn’t given up on futuristic technology.

And if you can get past the idea that Google can monitor your movements in bed – a pretty big “if” for some people – the idea is pretty interesting.

Google said the idea to implement sleep tracking came after seeing a large number of users already placed their Nest Hub units next to their beds (as with the previous Nest Hub, this one didn’t has no camera). So he thought he could take advantage of his radar technology to improve sleep tracking without forcing users to wear something to bed.

After an initial calibration, which essentially checks your breathing patterns, the Soli sensor can track your sleep quality by analyzing your movements and breathing. Although it doesn’t have a camera (thank goodness) Google claims that Soli is as good as any commercially available sleep tracking system.

It can also detect sleep disturbances like coughing or snoring, as well as giving you advice on how changes in light and temperature (there’s a new thermometer on board) are affecting your sleep.

In the morning, you’ll then receive a sleep summary, which can also be tracked in the Google Fit app to help improve your sleep patterns over time.

Unfortunately, the technology only works for one person. So anyone you share your bed with would need another Nest Hub. However, Google says it can tell the difference between people in bed – it’ll just check which one is closest.

Aside from sleep tracking, there are still a few updates to be made. The Nest Hub now emits 50% more bass, and it now comes with a dedicated machine learning chip that enables more on-device processing and faster responses.

The design has also been tweaked slightly, providing a transparent display, removing the little lip that grime sometimes gets stuck on my old model. It’s available in Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and a new Mist colourway, and its plastic mechanical parts are now made with 54% recycled plastic.

The Nest Hub is available starting today for $ 99.99 from the Google Store and other retailers.

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Published March 16, 2021 – 13:05 UTC


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