Google’s Next Earbuds Will Monitor Jaw Vibration to Detect Speech

“With the new Pixel Buds, users will be able to access the AI-driven Google Assistant just by saying “Hey Google”, even if the earbuds aren’t connected to a smartphone that’s on.”

Google's Next Earbuds Will Monitor Jaw Vibration to Detect Speech

Google has revealed that it’s working on a new and much improved version of its Pixel Buds earbuds.

Unveiled at today’s big hardware event, the new Pixel Buds are perhaps most notable for actually being wireless, as opposed to the original Pixel Buds launched in 2017. But they’re also noteworthy for their focus on AI — a technological area that Google has tried to use as a key differentiator with respect to its competition in areas such as smartphones. With the new Pixel Buds, users will be able to access the AI-driven Google Assistant just by saying “Hey Google”, even if the earbuds aren’t connected to a smartphone that’s on.

The earbuds are also designed to automatically detect when they are actually placed in the user’s ears, and to adjust sound dynamically based on environmental noise.

Delving somewhat more into the realm of biometrics, the new Pixel Buds will feature technology that can detect speech through jaw vibration, which Google says is based on a built-in accelerometer. That means users’ speech can come through clearly even when they’re in adverse environmental conditions or otherwise hindered in being able to speak clearly for the microphones built into each earbud.

The new wearables will come in four colors — white, orange, mint, and black — and will be housed in a sleek, egg-shaped case, which may be a response to the design aesthetic of Apple’s newest wireless AirPods. Likewise, their incorporation of sophisticated AI interaction and pseudo-biometric capabilities further suggest that Google is looking to really compete in the increasingly sophisticated technological area of wearables. But in revealing its hand now, Google may be giving its rivals a bit of a window to respond with their own new offerings: The new Pixel Buds won’t come out until sometime in the spring of 2020, when they’ll hit the market with a price tag of $179.

Sources: The Verge, TechCrunch