Android's accessibility updates include a way to control your phone using your face

·Associate Editor
·1-min read

Google has introduced quite a lengthy list of Android features, including new accessibility tools for the mobile OS that rely on eye and facial gestures. Starting this week, users will see a new addition to the Android Accessibility Suite that can turn a phone's front-facing camera into a switch. Aptly called Camera Switch, the tool replaces keyboards, mice and touchscreen displays as a device's input method. With the feature, users will be able to navigate their phones with eye movements or with facial features, such as smiling or opening and closing their mouths. The tech giant started beta testing it in August, but it's now giving the feature a wider rollout.

Android
Android

The tech giant has also launched a new application called Project Activate specifically for those don’t speak or have neurological conditions. Its purpose is to make it easier for the users to communicate with other people. They can program the app to speak phrases like "Please, wait!" when they move their eyes a certain way or make a gesture with their face. The application can also be programmed to play audio, make phone calls or send texts, such as emergency messages seeking assistance. 

Finally, Google has updated its Lookout app with handwriting recognition. It can now read out handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages while in Documents mode. Further, it can now recognize Euro and Indian Rupee in currency mode, with Google planning to add support for more currencies in the future. The tech giant first announced Lookout back in 2018 as a way to provide Blind individuals and people with visual impairments spoken notifications about their environment. Google added food and document scanning to its capabilities in 2020, along with support for languages other than English. 

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