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Android gets Project Gameface gaming accessibility tool

By Liu Hongzuo - on 15 May 2024, 11:17am

Android gets Project Gameface gaming accessibility tool

Project Gameface is an accessibility tool made for gamers with disabilities, and it's now available as a navigation aid on Android.

At Google I/O 2024, Google announced that Project Gameface is now on Android platforms.

Project Gameface, announced at last year’s Google I/O, is an AI-powered accessibility feature for gamers requiring hands-free movement control while in-game. It was designed with muscular disabilities in mind, helping users who cannot control games with conventional finger or arm movements. Google originally got into Project Gameface because of a quadriplegic video game streamer who lost his possessions (and equipment) in a fire.

The on-device nature of processing facial expressions gives Project Gameface the needed low latency to operate in fast-moving game environments.

Today (16 May 2024), Google said Project Gameface has finally taken shape, in the form of Android compatibility. The open-source project now uses head-tracking to act as a ‘cursor’ on Android platforms and facial gestures to replace conventional input or commands. Future plans for the accessibility tool include PC compatibility.

In a closed-door media session at Google I/O 2024, Avneet Singh (Product Manager, Google Partner Innovation) demonstrated how a Google Pixel phone was set up for navigation and daily use via Project Gameface, where gestures like raising eyebrows, opening mouths, and more, allowed him to browse emails, watch YouTube videos, and navigate the phone without using hands.

Project Gameface on Android as an accessibility tool. Users can bind essential controls to their preferred facial gestures for maximum customisation.

Google added that Project Gameface is open-sourced, allowing other app developers to implement source code so that more Android apps can be supported. 

Avneet, in response to a question about current game compatibility, shared that Google is partnering with game publishers to introduce in-app accessibility for these features. This collaboration includes companies like NetEase Games (Greater China) and Konami (Japan), although no specific game title or timeline was given.

Google also added that it settled on head tracking for cursor movement, because its internal and playtest trials showed that it was less precise when users tried to use irises and eye tracking to control a cursor. 

Game developers keen to support Project Gameface in their gaming apps can find source code on GitHub.

Source: Google (blog)

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