Google’s Project Gameface hands-free ‘mouse’ launches on Android

The company at last year’s Google I/O developer conference Presented by Project Gameface, a silent gaming “mouse” that allows users to control the computer’s cursor with head movements and facial gestures. This year, Google announced that more code for Project Gameface was open-sourced, allowing developers To create Android applications can use technology.

The tool relies on the phone’s front-facing camera to track facial expressions and head movements, which can be used to control a virtual cursor. A user can, for example, smile to “select” items on the screen, or raise their left eyebrow to return to the home screen on an Android phone. Additionally, users can set thresholds or gesture sizes for each expression so they can control how prominent their expression is to trigger a specific mouse action.

The company developed Project Gameface with Lance Carr, a game broadcaster with muscular dystrophy, which weakens his muscles. Before the fire destroyed the house and its expensive equipment, Carr used a head tracking mouse for the game. The initial version of Project Gameface focused on gaming and used a webcam to detect facial expressions, although Google knew from the beginning that it had many other potential uses.

For the Android launch of the tool, Google partnered with Incluzza, an Indian organization that supports people with disabilities. The partnership gave the company a chance to learn how Project Gameface can help people with disabilities continue their education, communicate more easily with friends and family, and find jobs online. Google released the open source code of the project on GitHub and hopes that more developers will decide to “use it to create new experiences.”

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