eBay HeadGaze app lets physically impaired control iPhone X with head movements

ebay headgaze iphone x open source

Accessibility options for the physically impaired just got a huge boost, thanks to eBay’s open-source release of its HeadGaze software that allows users to control an iPhone X with simple head movements.

The software only works on the iPhone X at the moment, and uses the phone’s revolutionary FaceID system to track the user’s head movements, and translate them directly onto the screen. The software creates an on-screen cursor that’s then controlled by the user’s movements. Triggering a button or keypress is done by lingering the cursor over the desired button, and users can scroll or turn pages by lingering the cursor on specific parts of the screen. It’s a control scheme that won’t be unfamiliar to anyone who’s used a phone-based virtual reality headset like the Gear VR — but with the added benefit of not needing a bulky headset.

The technology was created by eBay’s computer team with guidance from PhD candidate and eBay intern Muratcan Cicek. While the software hasn’t yet been released on eBay’s app, eBay has released a video that shows the software working on the app. In an altruistic move, the auction giant has also released the source code on GitHub, so other developers can benefit from the software.

The software is primarily aimed at increasing accessibility options for the physically impaired. It is hoped this software could be incorporated into future mobile operating systems, giving more options to those who may struggle with the touch-based systems currently used in most mobile phones. With a system like HeadGaze, a phone could be held in position while a user uses head movements to browse. Future improvements in voice-based A.I. could also play a role in these accessibility options, helping to open the world of tech to a larger community of people.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Cicek said that the team is working on incorporating other movements into the system, including tracking eye movement. He also pointed out the uses this technology could have beyond the options it offers for the physically impaired, with examples from everyday life.

“Tired of trying to scroll through a recipe on your phone screen with greasy fingers while cooking? Too messy to follow the how-to manual on your cell phone while you’re tinkering with the car engine under the hood? Too cold to remove your gloves to use your phone?”

While touchscreens are likely going nowhere for a while yet, it’s likely we’ll see some serious developments in this area within the next few years. After all, a lot of us can unlock our phone with our eyes — why not control it with them, too?

Smart Home

Amazon might open 3,000 cashier-free Amazon Go stores by 2021

According to new reporting by Bloomburg, anonymous sources within Amazon say that CEO Jeff Bezos is considering opening up to 3,000 of the company's cashier-less, experimental Amazon Go stores by 2021.
Podcasts

Amazon Alexa in everything, 3,000 Amazon Go stores, SpaceX moon trip

On today's episode: Amazon dropped 12 new hardware devices today, including an Echo Input, Sub, Link and Link Amp. Plus a smart plug and even...a microwave. Amazon may also be opening 3000 cashier-free stores by 2021, and SpaceX announces…
Gaming

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ online mode gallops into open beta in November

Red Dead Redemption 2's online mode, Red Dead Online, won't be available when the game launches October 26, but you won't have to wait long. Red Dead Online, which takes cues from Grand Theft Auto Online, enters open beta in November.
Social Media

How to turn off Snapchat’s location-based Snap Map

Thanks to an opt-in feature added last year, Snapchat may be sharing your location with friends whenever you open it. Here, we'll walk you through how to turn off said feature off and regain some peace of mind.
Mobile

Apple purchases Shazam and makes the app free of ads

Soon after Apple announced it was acquiring music-recognition service Shazam, it was revealed that the European Commission would be looking into the deal. The commission has now cleared the way for Apple's acquisition of Shazam.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Giveaways

Enter to win the new iPhone XS and three Speck Presidio cases

Excited about the new iPhone XS? You may be in luck: We've teamed up with Apple and Speck to give one lucky winner a brand new iPhone XS and Speck Presidio case bundle, a combined $1,120 value. Read on for more details and enter now for…
Mobile

The best iPhone XS Max screen protectors to safeguard that huge screen

If you love big screens, then the iPhone XS Max's huge 6.5-inch display is for you. But it won't fare well against concrete. Protect your display with the best iPhone XS Max screen protectors.
Mobile

From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0, here’s how Google’s OS evolved over a decade

It's hard to believe, but Android has been around for almost a decade now. From Android 1.0 to Android 9.0 Pie, here's the history of Android and the changes that came with each new software iteration.
Social Media

Snap, then shop? Snapchat’s camera will soon buy stuff from Amazon

Want to Snap that item and buy it for yourself? Snapchat is testing an option to shop on Amazon using the camera. The tool works similar to Shazaming a song inside Snapchat; users tap and hold on the screen inside the camera mode.
Mobile

Google Feed is now known as ‘Discover,’ will be available on mobile browsers

As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign to help you find content that aligns with your interests.
Mobile

Renders for Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL leak in black and white colors

Forget the Pixel 2: Google will announce its latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, on October 9 in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

Apple iPhone XS Max vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Powerhouse face-off

Can Apple's heavyweight smartphone beat Samsung's reigning champion? We decided the compare the iPhone XS Max to the Galaxy Note 9 in a few different categories to see which smartphone comes out on top.
Mobile

Leaked renders show upcoming Huawei Mate 20 Pro in three stunning colors

Huawei is no stranger when it comes to big phones. And this year it plans to go even bigger with the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Here's what we think we know about the new range.