Android to Add Facial Gesture Controls & Handwriting Recognition

Google’s slew of new features coming to Android includes an array of interesting features, including facial gesture control designed for people with motor impairments.

Along with facial gesture control, Android’s new accessibility features includes handwriting recognition for Lookout and a Google app that makes use of your phone’s camera to help those with low vision or blindness.

In addition to the above, users will see improvements to:

  • Google Assistant
  • Digital Wellbeing
  • Nearby Share
  • Google’s Android Keyboard

Android’s Facial Gesture Control

There are 2 main parts to Android’s facial gesture control:

  1. Camera Switches – This sits within Android’s existing Accessibility Suite and allows users to use gestures like raising their eyebrows, or opening their mouth, to activate various commands. (Previously spotted in Android 12’s beta)
  2. Project Activate – This is a standalone app, designed to assist people communicate. Facial gestures can be assigned to set trigger actions, such as playing audio or sending a text message.
Controlling a weather app via facial gestures

Lookout’s Handwriting Recognition & Other Improvements

Google announces that Lookout’s Handwriting recognition will be accessible from its Document Mode, and will be able to read out Latin-based languages.

Accessibility aside, improvements to Google’s Android keyboard will see the use of Smart Compose to finish sentences (similar to how it’s currently being utilised on Gmail and Google Docs).

The Heads Up Digital Wellbeing feature reminds people to stop looking down at their devices while they are walking.

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