Tech

Google’s Nest Hub 2 uses radar to track and improve your sleep

With Soli radar technology, Google may have figured out a better way to track your sleep that doesn’t require wearing a smartwatch to bed.

Here’s the thing about smart home gadgets: You don’t need to replace them very often. So when a new version of a smart home device comes out, it needs to offer something worth the money. I think Google’s Nest Hub 2 has that special something.

Google

Before we get to the Nest Hub 2’s potential killer feature, here’s what you need to know:

• 7-inch display

• No camera (just like original)

• 50% more bass with audio based on Nest Audio tuning

• Soli radar-based air gesture controls for controlling content

• On-device machine learning chip for Google Assistant

• Glass display now runs all the way to the edge

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Now for the Nest Hub 2’s most important feature: Sleep Sensing.

Sleep Sensing is Google’s stab at providing more comprehensive and advanced sleep tracking. Most people track their sleep using a wearable like an Apple Watch or Fitbit or a sensor they place underneath their mattress.

In my opinion, none of these are particularly accurate or provide enough data or insight to be considered helpful. The onus is on the user to decode the collected sleep data and then go figure out how to improve it.

Learning your sleep

The longer you use Sleep Sensing, the more it learns about your sleep. Google says it only detects the motion of the person next to it. So if someone else sleeps in your bed, the radar won’t track them.

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Google’s taking a different approach.

Sleep Sensing uses Soli, the radar-based technology that’s in the Pixel 4, to detect motion while you’re sleeping. Google says it designed Hub 2 with privacy in mind, which is why there’s no camera on the smart display, and as a result, there’s no way to ID faces or bodies. Plus, Sleep Sensing is opt-in. Radar is just sensitive enough to detect tiny movements.

“OK Google, how did I sleep?”

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Your sleep data can be synced to your Google Fit app. Over time, it learns three key sleeping metrics:

Duration: How long you’re sleeping

Schedule: How consistent your sleep is

Quality: How well your sleep is

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A graph showing Soli radar detecting motion while a person is sleeping.📸: Google

The latter, the quality of your sleep, is the most important one. Using radar, the mics, temperature sensor, and ambient light sensor, the Nest Hub 2 can detect snoring, coughing, and light changes and show in a neat graph how these factors might be affecting your sleep.

With the sleep data in hand, the Nest Hub 2 also provides personalized recommendations for improving your sleep, like suggesting healthier or more consistent meals, when you should sleep, or how to adjust your lighting to get ready for bed.

Google

It’s the kind of insight you don’t get wearing a wearable to sleep.

Google

100K+

The number of nights Google tracked on thousands of people to develop its sleep tracking algorithms.

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Google says it verified the accuracy of its Soli-based sleep tracking against a polysomnography study (sleep study) from various health organizations like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Heart Association, and World Health Organization and experts “found no statistical difference.”

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There’s one catch...

Sleep Sensing is only a free feature as a preview “until next year.” Google’s not sharing more info than that, but it sure sounds like this is a service Google’s gonna charge money in the future.

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$99.99

Pre-orders start on 3/16 with a launch by the end of March.

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