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September 30, 2021
2 min read

Google Enhances Assistive Technology in Android with Facial Gesture Controls

The CDC estimates that 61 million adults in the United States live with disabilities, which has pushed Google and rivals Apple and Microsoft to make products and services more accessible to them.

Google’s latest features bring quick actions and navigation to people whose expressions are their primary means of interacting with their smartphones.

Advances in the Android operating system allow machine learning and front-facing cameras on to detect face and eye movements in order to trigger commands and actions. Users can scan their phone screen and select a task by:

  • Smiling
  • Raising eyebrows
  • Opening their mouth
  • Looking to the left, right or up

Project Activate App and Camera Switches Functionality

Several  of the facial recognition features can be accessed by using the Project Activate App, and other facial recognition controls are built into the OS as a feature called Camera Switches, which records commands and assigns them to predetermined functions.   Note that both of these applications can't be used simultaneously, as they use the front-facing camera, which can only be used by one application at a time.

With your facial expressions, you can:

• Play a text-to-speech phrase
• Play audio to express yourself or control a smart speaker
• Send a text message
• Make a phone call

The new features rely on the smartphone’s front-facing camera, which can watch the user’s face in real time for one of six expressions: a smile, raised eyebrows, opened mouth and looking left, right or up.

All three of the tech giants: Apple, Google, and Microsoft, have consistently rolled out innovations that make  technology more accessible to people with disabilities or who find that age has made some tasks, such as reading, more difficult.  This competition is great for users.

Get in Touch with an Expert at Northwest Ergonomics & Assistive Technology

Northwest Ergonomics and Assistive Technology is here to help with your assistive technology needs. Our trained  experts will consult with you to understand your specific needs and provide solutions that really work. We help people of all ages who have experienced any kind of disability.

It is important to our caring specialists that you really get the benefit of these wonderful advancements in technology. For that reason we specialize in training and follow-up to make sure that everything is working as effectively as possible for you.

To contact us, use the form on our contact page, or call 206-707-8830



Read Full Bio
Doug Lear
15 years as an Assistive Technology Specialist- Providing services to those with disabilities for those with and those why want to operate a computer more efficiently and effectively by voice, vision, or movements.