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Android phones to become more accessible

hands holding up two smartphones
hands holding up two smartphones Image credit: medium.com

It’s not just a fingerprint which can operate Android smartphones, the devices can now be used by raising an eyebrow or a cheeky grin.

The added features are part of Google’s commitment to make their phones more accessible for users with speech impediments or physical disabilities.

They can also choose to open their mouths or looking to the left, right or up so they can scan their mobiles.

In a statement Google said: "To make Android more accessible for everyone, we're launching new tools that make it easier to control your phone and communicate using facial gestures.

"Every day, people use voice commands, like 'Hey Google', or their hands to navigate their phones.

"However, that's not always possible for people with severe motor and speech disabilities."

The added functions are part of one of two new features introduced by Android smartphones called “Camera Switches”, the other is “Project Activate” which interprets physical movements into playing a phrase, making a call or sending a text.

"Now it's possible for anyone to use eye movements and facial gestures that are customized to their range of movement to navigate their phone — sans hands and voice," Google said.

The new features build on the current accessible functions smartphones provides such as digital assistants operated by voice command built into speakers which assist users with vision loss or physical disabilities.

Users with disabilities can also purchase software which translates text and images online into speech as well as captions to videos.

The “Assistive Touch” feature allows the Apple smart watch to be controlled by sensing movements such as hand clenches or pinching the screen via fingers.

In a post Apple said: "This feature also works with VoiceOver so you can navigate Apple Watch with one hand while using a cane or leading a service animal.

In an additional post Microsoft said: "To enable transformative change accessibility needs to be a priority.

"We aim to build it into what we design for every team, organization, classroom, and home."

In 2020 there were 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide.