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Google launches new Android accessibility updates

Google is bringing in two new tools that should help make Android phones more accessible for users.

Phones are a lot more capable than they used to be, with features like FaceID and voice command, you can use your phone without needing to even touch it.

However, even with recent updates and developments to most smartphones, some people will be unable to use their hands or their voice to interact with their phones.

Google is introducing two new features to help combat this issue and make it easier for people with motor or speech disabilities to use their smartphones.

The first update is Camera Switches, which allows users to navigate the phone with their facial gestures.

Switch Access was launched for Android in 2015, which helped people with limited dexterity navigate their phone by adding in adaptive buttons called physical switches.

Camera Switches takes this a step further, as the camera is utilised as a new type of switch that can detect your facial gestures, which removes the need for hands or voice control. Camera Switches will be rolling out within the Android Accessibility Suite this week and will become fully available at the end of the month.

Camera Switches allows for six gestures; look right, look left, look up, smile, raise your eyebrows or open your mouth, all to scan and select on the phone.

You can also switch between scanning methods, and assign gestures to specific functions, such as opening notifications. This can also be customised further, as you can specify how long you need to hold a gesture for it to be detected.

The next feature is called Project Activate, which allows people to use the same facial gestures to activate customised actions with one gesture.

This means people can use a specific gesture, such as smiling and set it to a specific phrase, message or function, which makes communication quicker and easier.

Project Activate is available in the UK, US, Canada and Australia in English, and can be found on the Google Play Store.

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