Google has long had an Accessibility API that let developers build apps for people with disabilities, but it isn’t always used for that purpose.
Nonetheless, Google intends to categorised apps that uses the Accessibility API into a few categories, including screen readers, switch-based input systems, and voice-based input systems.
With that being done, the “Android Accessibility Suite” app will now provide a suite of accessibility tools suitable for persons with disabilities can access their device. Though this initiative, Google now adds a new way for users to control their devices, and it is called “Camera Switches”.
The beta version of the Android Accessibility Suite will be part of the Android 12 beta which recently become available on Pixel smartphones.
The newly introduced feature, “Camera Switches” essentially allows to use face gestures to control your phone. For instance, you can set the app to open your app with a simple smile or raise an eyebrow.
According to XDA Developers, the app allows you to store around 6 face gestures to manage over a dozen of phone controls. These sensitivity of the gestures can be tweaked based on gesture size to prevent the app from constantly initiating actions too.
In addition, with Switch Access, you can connect and external device via USB or Bluetooth to select items, scroll, type, and more.
As of now, there is a limit to how many gestures “Camera Switches” support, but the list may possibly grow in the future. An example is to have the app detect when you open your mouth and then map that to open the notifications panel, or having it check for when you raise your eyebrows and then have the phone return to the home screen.
It was also reported that when the “Camera Switches” feature is active, you will see a persistent notification that indicates your camera is actively being used. However, as Android 12 shows a status bar indicator whenever your device’s camera is being used, this feature may be unnecessary.
As for those who are eager to get their hands on the feature, you can sideload the APK to get the new Camera Switches feature on an Android 11 device. Google has yet to make any announcement on the update release so you may need to wait for the update to be rolled out if you are not sideloading the APK from a site like APKMirror.
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