How Google’s Pixel 4 radar system could be more than a gimmick

How Google’s Pixel 4 radar system could be more than a gimmick

Ladies and gentlemen, the future is upon us.

Well, either that, or we’re about to be fed yet another Impressive-Seeming Phone Feature™ that looks incredible in marketing videos but ends up being more limited-use novelty than life-changing tech tool in the real world.

Ever since Google confirmed the presence of a radar-based hand-gesture detection system in its upcoming Pixel 4 phone, ample attention has been heaped onto the question of whether such a system would be incredible or ineffectual — whether it’d represent a new and transformative way of interacting with our phones or merely be a new twist on a tired old gimmick.

To be sure, Android device-makers have worked to get our attention with gesture controls before. Most recently, LG tried its hand at the task by showing off a feature it called Air Motion on its LG G8 ThinQ (gesundheit!) flagship.

Here’s how it worked, in LG’s implementation: You’d hold your hand up four inches from the phone’s front-facing camera for a few seconds until the camera noticed — then, from there, progress into curling your hand into a claw-like shape and waiting another few seconds for the system to recognize that. Then, you’d be ready to roll and could move your hand in one of a few different patterns with the hope that the camera would pick up on what you were trying to do.

If you think that sounds awkward, just wait til you see how it looks:

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.


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