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New feature on Android: control of the phone with facial expressions

New feature on Android: control of the phone with facial expressions

Android has long developed an accessibility API, with which developers can build applications and experiences to help people with disabilities. Google intends to bring apps that use the accessibility API into certain categories, including screen readers, switch-based input systems, and voice-based input systems. The Android Accessibility Suite app provides, as the name suggests, a suite of accessibility tools that make sure that people with disabilities can take full control of the phone.

How the new accessibility feature enables phone control

In particular, the latest update of Android Accessibility Suite adds a new way for users to control their devices: the Camera Switches feature. The beta 12.0.0 of the Android Accessibility Suite app is part of the fourth beta version of Android 12, which arrived on Pixel phones a few days ago. The update transforms the new feature into the Switch Access function, which contains tools that allow you to interact with your Android device without using the touchscreen. With Switch Access, you can connect an external device via USB or Bluetooth to simply select items, scroll, type and more via facial recognition.

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Currently, the Camera Switches feature supports setting some gestures that are used to perform a limited number of controls, but the list is very likely to grow in the future. You can, for example, have the app detect your mouth opening movement and then map it to open the notification panel, or have it perceive your eyebrows raised and then return your phone to the home screen. In short, it is a revolutionary update that it will greatly simplify your life to people with disabilities.

When the Camera Switches function is active, a permanent notification icon appears that warns of active use of the camera. Android 12 displays a status bar indicator whenever the device’s camera is in use, so this notification icon may seem redundant; however, the updated version of the Android Accessibility Suite app it doesn’t appear to be exclusive to Android 12 devicesas some experts have managed to covertly load the APK to get the new Camera Switches feature on an Android 11 device.