Skip to main content

Google has a magical new way for you to control your Android phone

Holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro, showing its Home Screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

You don’t need your hands to control your Android phone anymore. At Google I/O 2024, Google announced Project Gameface for Android, an incredible new accessibility feature that will let users control their devices with head movements and facial gestures.

There are 52 unique facial gestures supported. These include raising your eyebrow, opening your mouth, glancing in a certain direction, looking up, smiling, and more. Each gesture can be mapped to an action like pulling down the notification shade, going back to the previous app, opening the app drawer, or going back to home. Users can customize facial expressions, gesture sizes, cursor speed, and more.

Project GameFace for Android configuration options.
Project Gameface for Android configuration options. Google

Google has also released a neat intro video that showcases some of Project Gameface’s capabilities. It’s easy to imagine all the ways this technology could make using a phone more accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Project GameFace was first showcased in Google I/O 2023 as an open-source, hands-free gaming “mouse,” where Google lets users control a PC with head movements and facial gestures. Raising your eyebrows allowed you to click and drag, and opening your mouth moved the cursor. The project was inspired by Lance Carr, a quadriplegic game steamer with muscular dystrophy, a progressive disease that weakens muscles.

Project Gameface facial expressions.
Project Gameface facial expressions. Google

What makes Project Gameface stand out next to accessibility tools like the Xbox Adaptive Controller is that it doesn’t require any additional hardware. All you need is your existing Android phone, which should make it one of the most cost-effective assistive technologies on the market.

Apple also has mobility-related assistive features for the iPhone, including voice control, shortcuts, call audio routing, dictation, and head tracking. It also announced a bunch of new ones this week, including a new way to control your iPad and iPhone with your eyes.

Editors' Recommendations

Ajay Kumar
Freelance Writer, Mobile
Ajay has worked in tech journalism for more than a decade as a reporter, analyst, and editor.
You’ll soon be able to control your iPhone and iPad with your eyes
The iPad Air 4 in hand.

Apple has announced a bunch of new accessibility features that will arrive later this year for iPhone and iPad owners. Notable among them is the ability to interact with iOS and iPadOS interfaces using eye movement, which is something that's seen in a similar system on Mac hardware.

The company calls it Eye Tracking, and it's a system built on the Dwell Control foundations. So far, Dwell Control has been available as part of the Accessibility Keyboard on macOS, allowing users to execute mouse actions using eye and head gestures.

Read more
Google just announced 10 huge updates for your Android phone
The Home Screen on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Google I/O, the annual everything-Google-software fest, has kicked off. As usual, Android takes center stage. From enhanced privacy and Google Wallet upgrades to theft detection and app safety checkups, there’s a lot to look forward to here.

From Android 15 features to more general Android updates, here’s a breakdown of all the major Android announcements from I/O 2024.
Making life easier with Google Wallet

Read more
Wear OS 5 is the future of Android smartwatches. Here’s what’s new
A person wearing the Google Pixel Watch 2.

With the Google I/O 2024 opening keynote having come and gone yesterday, showcasing Google’s various AI initiatives with Gemini AI and more, news about the Wear OS took second fiddle -- until now. After revealing that Wear OS grew its user base by 40% in 2023, Google has just announced Wear OS 5, along with a slew of new watch face updates and health-tracking features.

Here’s what’s new.
Wear OS 5

Read more