Google Pixel Watch 3 Might Go Buttonless With Gesture Recognition Sensors, Suggests Patent

Google Pixel Watch 2 was launched last month during the company’s Made By Google event. The newly unveiled smart wearable, powered by a Qualcomm 5100 SoC is heading to more shelves across the globe, however, rumours about next year’s Pixel Watch 3 have already started surfacing on the Web. According to a new patent filing, the Pixel Watch 3 could debut with a new sensor technology that would allow users to control the wearable with mere gestures instead of buttons. 

Initially spotted by Wearable, Google has filed a new smartwatch-related patent titled “Gesture recognition on watch bezel using strain gauges” with the United States Patent Office. The patent discusses the possibilities of implementation of new sensors inside the next Pixel Watch that can detect gestures such as presses, taps, squeezes, and swipes. The debut of these sensors could explore new ways to use the smartwatch as they can perform multiple tasks like controlling music, accessing smart home devices, and viewing or managing heart rate data among others.

Deploying this new sensor technology would eliminate buttons from future Pixel Watches. Besides the detailed description, the patent includes some images to provide further references showing how gesture recognition controls would work. The images showcase a smartwatch with sensors arranged on the edge of the display and no crown. We can see a user swiping their finger along the display edge to turn the volume up or down in a music app. It also indicates squeezing the display on both ends of the wearable to pause a song or open a notification.

Google states the buttons, bezels, and crown make the manufacturing process and waterproofing more complex. “Content on such a small screen is easily obscured when touching the device, making it difficult to precisely select and scroll because the user cannot see what they are selecting or scrolling,” Google says in the filing. The tech giant acknowledges that dials, rotating crowns, and more are efficient and convenient options, but they have flaws. Therefore adding the sensors within the watch would keep the control methods within the housing itself, leading to a cleaner design. This would also allow the processors to communicate with the sensors directly.

Google has not revealed any details about the adoption of gesture recognition sensors on Pixel Watch. The patented technology could just be used for testing and it is expected to change before the launch of the next iteration of Pixel wearables.

The Pixel Watch 2 was launched in October during the Made By Google launch event. It is priced at Rs. 39,900 in India. The smartwatch runs on Qualcomm 5100 SoC, paired with 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of inbuilt storage. It ships with Wear OS 4.0 and is backed by a 306mAh battery.

Google I/O 2023 saw the search giant repeatedly tell us that it cares about AI, alongside the launch of its first foldable phone and Pixel-branded tablet. This year, the company is going to supercharge its apps, services, and Android operating system with AI technology. We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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