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I have seen a video where a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) could type on a screen using their eyes (the software used eye tracking software).

But there are also many disabled people who are partially paralyzed or have handicaps where their limbs give away to spasms or have stiff or impaired parts (but can use their eyes).

Wouldn't it be nice, if, all of these, could have some arm attached to their wheelchair or bed or chair or table, with Android on it, and could use their eyes to open up YouTube and key in some search videos, scroll, and watch YouTube or other media?

Why doesn't Android offer this accessibility feature?

Thanks.

2 Answers 2

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Android actually does have this feature (I didn't know it either before today). Camera Switches via the Accessibility Suite is widely available since 30 September 2021 as mentioned on this page.

As stated here:

Camera Switches is a new Android accessibility feature that makes it possible to navigate a smartphone using eye movements and facial gestures. It uses the front camera as a switch to set up one action to scan and another to select an item.

Choose a combination of two facial gestures such as looking in a specific direction, smiling, raising your eyebrows or opening your mouth.

Here is how to set it up

Once you have the app, you can start setting up facial gestures. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Switch Access.
  • Turn on Switch Access, then tap Allow to grant it permissions.
  • Go back to Settings and select Camera Switch.
  • Select Two switches (recommended) to set up two gestures.
  • On the next screen, choose your scanning mode. Linear scanning moves through items one at a time. Let’s select that one.
  • Now select two gestures from a list. One to scan and one to select.
  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Switch Access > Settings to customize your gestures, set up gestures for global actions and more.
  • Now you can use gestures to navigate your phone. An icon at the top of your screen lets you know when Camera Switches are active.

There is also Project Activate. As mentioned here:

Project Activate, a new Android application, lets people use these same facial gestures to quickly activate customized actions with a single gesture — like speaking a preset phrase, sending a text, making a phone call or playing audio.

But it is not, for now, available worldwide:

Project Activate is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia in English

Sources:

How to control your Android phone with just your eyes

Two new tools that make your phone even more accessible

Camera Switches

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  • Hi, I was able to download Project Activate in Italy. I believe it may now be available worldwide. Aug 16, 2022 at 0:55
  • However, I don't know whether I can type using camera switches. How can I navigate one letter to the left with eye left movement, one letter to the right with eye right movement, and enter a letter or press the send button by opening my mouth? It would also be nice if a blue circle were displayed on the keyboard as a "cursor", highlighting the current letter or send button, as I navigate on it. This might be a bit slow, but crucial, for who, can only navigate, using the eyes. Perhaps to make it faster smiling could move you to the text prediction area of the keyboard. Thanks. Aug 16, 2022 at 0:59
  • As an alternative, the camera could compute what part of the screen the eyes are looking at. But I don't know whether camera switches does this, or just interprets what face gestures it sees. Thanks. Aug 16, 2022 at 1:06
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Some other Android projects to use this facial gaze tracking feature, from a Google Advanced Search for Android apps tracking with any of the words mouse pointer eye camera gaze:

  • EVA Facial Mouse (cmauri/eva_facial_mouse): Camera based mouse emulator for Android

    EVA Facial Mouse allows the user to control an Android™ device by tracking the face.

    Based on the movement of the face captured through the front camera, the app allows the user to control a pointer on the screen (i.e., like a mouse), which provides direct access to most elements of the user interface.

    For whom is EVA? EVA is intended for those who cannot use a touchscreen. For instance, some people with amputations, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other disabilities may benefit from this app.

  • AndroidGaze (fyordan/AndroidGaze): Project for Smartphone Vision. Android app that tracks your gaze

    [...] only uses Android SDK and Google GMS libraries, making the Android app very lightweight. The code is inspired from the IEEE paper by Anjith George and Aurobinda Routray for low resolution gaze tracking and the Institute for Neuro-and Bioinformatics paper by Fabian Timm and Erhardt Barth for Eye Centre localisation by means of gradients.

    Code might not be generalized enough to work well with other (for better or worse) [ (un-tested) ] camera resolutions, slower processors, or brighter eyes.

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