As well as its main apps, Google supports projects that produce helpful tools and resources through its Experiments with Google showcase. The latest experimental project to see the light of day is called Look to Speak, and it promises to help people with significant communication difficulties more easily interact using an Android device.
Look to Speak is the work of speech and language therapist Richard Cave, who collaborated with a small group of people at Google to see how machine learning could enable eye-gaze communication technology on a small, easily portable device such a smartphone. The end result is an app that allows a user to select pre-written phrases using their eyes. Those phrases are then spoken aloud, allowing for a conversation to be held.
Here’s how it works in practice:
The app is available to download on the Google Play Store and will work with any device running Android 9.0 or later. It’s hoped that, “it will be helpful to communities with varied types of temporary, permanent or situational disabilities,” and based on the small number of app reviews so far it’s doing exactly that. And with so many more people able to test the functionality, Google can continue to improve the experience.
This isn’t the only Google app aimed at helping people with disabilities. Last week, six Android feature updates were announced, and one of them was for the Voice Access Android app. It allows an Android device to be controlled using your voice, for a completely hands-free experience.