The month of November helped us learn about Google’s ultrasound sensing feature rollout specific to its Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max smart displays. The technology works toward adjusting the information displayed based on your proximity to the device.

Ashton Udall, Product Manager for Nest, also shared information on imminent new features of the device in a detailed blog post.

Ultrasound sensing began life inside Nest as an accessibility feature. It was being developed for the millions of people suffering from low vision. “It turned out that designing for people with low vision improved the experience for everyone,” adds Ashton Udall.

More on the innovation front

The Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max release inaudible ultrasonic sound waves that calculate your distance from the device. This means that the font display becomes bigger when you are far away from the screen, and the feature automatically shrinks the font with closer proximity, which enables touch controls for access to more relevant information.

End-to-end processing takes place on the device without the need for an HD camera. Google also mentioned that low-resolution sensing does not identify people, but understands that someone is moving.

Nest Hubs currently operates with timers, commute times, and weather. And over the coming weeks, it will support appointments and reminders.

Google’s all-new Nest Wifi and Nest Mini also make use of ultrasound sensing to light up capacitive buttons by sensing you nearby. However, the technology is not as impressive as the Pixel 4’s motion-sensing radar chip. On the other hand, it’s simpler to implement, cheaper, yet very useful.