Google has applied for patents which could lead to the development of facial gesture controls in mobile handsets.
The filing, submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), describes a system in which a device is able to detect a user's facial patterns and follow various movements over a series of images.The system would be able to track the movement of a certain part of the face by “receiving first and second images of a face of a user, where one or both images have been granted a match by facial recognition".
In practice, such a system would be able to process the movements of body parts such as the eyes or mouth and use them as input gestures.
The system would build on the possible input methods for Android devices. In addition to the traditional touchscreen and keyboard interface, the platform also allows users to perform certain tasks through voice commands on the Google Now platform. Such controls could also be leveraged by third-party developers to add gesture control to their applications and games.
Google said in its filing that in addition to the gesture recognition and controls, the technology could also be applied as a recognition tool which would be able to authenticate users based on comparison of facial features in multiple images.
Google is not the first company to work with such facial gesture technologies. Samsung has already demonstrated eye-recognition controls for its Galaxy smartphone platform, and Google has been working with gesture and eye-tracking with its Glass platform.
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