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Patent points to Pixel Watch with innovative gesture controls

The potential Pixel Watch patent shows off some game-changing technology that could make smartwatches far more useful.

Published onMay 19, 2020

Google I/O 2019 Pixel Logo

If there’s one product from Google that everyone has been waiting for, it’s a Pixel Watch. A patent filed by Google has emerged that shows off Soli gesture commands in a smartwatch, which could have brought some game-changing features to the rumored (and likely scrapped) Pixel Watch.

The patent comes from January 2019 but was just published by the US Patent Office this week (via Patently Apple). Google has had well over a year to enact this patent, and it hasn’t yet, so it might be a little premature to get too excited about a potential Pixel Watch.

This patent is all about using Soli technology (which the Pixel 4 already uses) to read gestures with the hand and wrist to control various functions of the watch. Rather than requiring the user to touch the tiny screen of the watch to get things done, gestures could open up a slew of control options.

google pixel watch patent

For example, the patent details making a fist and releasing it. This motion could be used to close an app or any number of other functions. Another gesture shown off is a tap on a user’s thumb. Different numbers of taps could be used to perform different functions, opening up all sorts of options.

The patent cites an optical sensor in the watch hardware that would allow it to read the user’s fingers, wrist, and arm movements. Depending on the level of accuracy, there are almost unlimited gestures that a user could perform. Perhaps the algorithm could even support custom gestures. Imagine being able to make the finger gun gesture to mark items as complete on a to-do list, for example.

Google smartwatches reportedly cancelled in 2016, no Pixel Watch this year
Diesel On Axial Wear OS apps smartwatch 1

Of course, tons of Pixel Watch rumors have come out over the years, with Google appearing to start and stop multiple times. This patent could end up being something Google decides to license out to other companies that use Wear OS rather than using it to create its own hardware. Or we might not ever see this come into fruition.

As is always the case with patents like these, there’s a chance it will never actually come to market in the form of a product. Sometimes companies just want to lock down its technology to use it at some point later. This is even more important to keep in mind with the Pixel Watch, as getting too excited over the possibility of it existing is just setting oneself up for disappointment.

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