The Android operating system has been offering so-called "switches" for a long time, which enable physically handicapped people to control their smartphones with special gestures. Another switch has now been added to the current beta of Android 12. This allows users to control their smartphone with facial expressions.
In the current beta of Android 12, which Google recently delivered for Pixel smartphones, the XDA Developers website found a new "camera switch" in the Android accessibility tools. So far there was only one USB and Bluetooth switch in the app. These switches allow users to control their smartphone with certain hardware without touch inputs.
With the new camera switch, additional hardware is no longer necessary and the smartphone can be controlled using different facial expressions of the user.
A handful of configurable gestures
So far, the camera switch only supports six facial expressions or gestures. These are:
- open your mouth
- Raise eyebrows
- Look to the left
- Look to the right
- To look up
The respective facial gestures are freely configurable. Image: © XDA Developers 2021
The sensitivity of the gesture recognition and the duration of the gestures can be individually adjusted in the Android accessibility tools. The respective gestures can then be linked to actions that replace touch inputs. For example, it is possible to open the notification bar by opening their mouth or to return to the home screen by raising their eyebrows.
By combining the different gestures with actions, touch input on the smartphone can be largely replaced.
New gesture control probably not exclusive to Android 12
XDA Developers also found out during a test that the new gesture control is unlikely to be exclusive to Android 12. By sideloading the current APK of the Android accessibility tools, XDA Developers managed to use the new gestures on Android 11 as well.
If you want to try out the new yesterday on a smartphone, you can get the current version of the app from APKMirror , for example.