Google, is working on a new accessibility feature for Android that will allow users to control their phones with facial expressions such as a smile or raised brows.
According to The Verge, the ‘Camera Switch’ feature is now available in version 12 of Android’s ‘Accessibility Suite’ app, which was released alongside the fourth beta of Android 12.
Although the new version of the app is not yet available on Google Play, reports indicate that there is an APK available for side-loading if you want to give it a shot.
Facial expressions (which include looking left, right, or up) can be used to access a variety of controls, including scrolling, returning to the home screen, and viewing quick settings or notifications.
Users can adjust the software’s sensitivity to recognise expressions, which should help prevent accidental activations.
However, there is a warning that the feature is power-intensive and that phones should be plugged in when not in use.
It’s easy to see how this feature could be beneficial to anyone who has difficulty with certain touch controls. In comparison to voice commands, facial expressions are silent, which may make them easier to use in public or in quieter environments.
Android’s recent releases include a number of accessibility features, such as these facial expression controls, aimed at making the phones more accessible to people with disabilities.
Android 11, for instance, improved the operating system’s voice control feature in last year’s release. Earlier this year, Google released a slew of additional accessibility updates, including customizable ‘Action Blocks’ that allow users to assign custom actions to large on-screen buttons.
The new feature’s inclusion alongside the latest Android 12 beta suggests that it will be made available as part of the operating system’s official release later this year.
However, as reported by The Verge, this latest version of the Accessibility Suite app appears to be backwards compatible with Android 11, implying that it may not be an Android 12 exclusive.
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