Android Camera Feature Uses Facial Gestures to Control Your Phone

'Camera Switches' available in Android 12 Beta

Android 12 beta now includes a feature that lets you control your phone using facial cues. 

Initially spotted by XDA Developers on Sunday, Android 12 beta utilizes the company’s Accessibility API and facial recognition technology in a new feature called Camera Switches. Camera Switches is included in the latest update to the Android Accessibility Suite app.

Facial recognition technology

Getty Images/Prostock-Studio

The latest feature lets users interact with their Android device without using the touchscreen and using their face instead. XDA said the app recognizes gestures like opening your mouth, smiling, and raising your eyebrows to do whatever you assign the gesture to do, such as going back to your phone’s home screen, opening the notifications panel, scroll forward or backward, and more. 

Previously, the Switch Access setting within the app only allowed you to choose an external device such as a keyboard using USB or Bluetooth to connect the two devices. The latest feature lets anyone control some aspects of their phone using facial gestures as "switches."

XDA notes that while the feature was released in the Android 12 beta version of the app, it also was spotted as compatible on Android 11 devices by sideloading the APK. Either way, it looks like the feature will be available to everyone once Android 12 debuts this fall. 

"...it looks like the feature will be available to everyone once Android 12 debuts this fall."

Android isn’t the only system that has added more accessibility features aimed at helping people with disabilities more easily access their devices. In May, Apple introduced impressive new accessibility features, such as AssistiveTouch for the Apple Watch, eye-tracking support for the iPad, and support for bi-directional hearing aids. 

Experts say that the more companies prioritize accessibility, the more it will become the norm, especially in terms of cognitive accessibility. 

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