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Nest Hub and Hub Max Can Now Detect Your Presence with Ultrasound

Nest Hub on a kitchen counter
Josh Hendrickson / Review Geek

Google has begun rolling out a new feature for the Nest Hub and Hub Max that uses ultrasonic presence sensing technology to detect when people are around and automatically customize the user interface based on present conditions.

Already implemented on the Nest Mini and Nest Wifi satellites, ultrasonic sensing uses the built-in speakers on the Nest Hub and Hub Max to emit high-frequency sounds and then listens for feedback using their microphones. (Google told Engadget that the frequencies shouldn’t bother your pets, which generally have more sensitive hearing than people do.)

With ultrasonic sensing, newer Nest devices can detect people up to five feet away and customize what’s being displayed. Ultrasonic sensing doesn’t have facial identification so it can’t tailor the experience to specific people, but it can do things like automatically increase font size when you’re further away, or expose touch controls as you approach. This functionality should be available on the Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Mini, and Nest WiFi Point.

In one real-world example shared on Reddit, someone who owns the original Google Home Hub noticed that the device was suddenly capable of detecting when it was being looked at. “I just set a timer because I had food in the oven and whenever I was looking at my phone, the timer would go into ‘full screen mode’ but when I would turn my head to look at the Google home hub, it minimized.”

This may not be the most revolutionary update for the Hub Max, which ships with an integrated camera that is already capable of recognizing who is using the device and responding with features that are for specific members of a household. However, the addition of ultrasonic sensing is particularly noteworthy for the Home Hub considering it doesn’t have a camera.

In separate but similar news, the microphone inside the Nest Guard keypad, part of the Nest Secure alarm system, can now detect the sound of breaking glass. You can enable the new feature through the Nest app by going to Settings > Security > Security levels > Away and Guarding or Home and Guarding > Glass break detection.

Source: Android Police

Matthew DeCarlo Matthew DeCarlo
Matthew DeCarlo has been in digital publishing for more than a decade, during which time he has authored and edited thousands of technology articles including industry news, hardware and software reviews, product buying guides, how-tos, editorials, in-depth explainers, trivia, and more. Read Full Bio »