“Look to Speak” is a new experimental app from Google that helps those with speech and motor impairments communicate through eye gaze technology. 

The app lets people look left and right — relative to a phone placed directly in front of them — to select from a list of phrases, which can be customized. There are two columns of text, with selections then spoken aloud. 

Look to Speak leverages eye gaze technology that uses the front-facing camera found on Android devices. A clear view of the user’s eyes is required, while the phone has to be securely mounted and not just held in hand. The application features a Setup Helper, while there’s a Practice Screen to get started.

Customization options let users set the gaze off-screen distance (close, medium, and far), as well as the gaze duration needed to trigger. A feedback ping is available to confirm every selection. The app can be paused/”snoozed” at any time (by looking up) so that it’s not always looking for your gaze.

This assistive tool is part of the Experiments with Google platform’s “Start with One” project:

It all started with an idea that could be impactful for one person and their community. Throughout the design process, we reached out to a small group of people who might benefit from a communication tool like this. What was amazing to see was how Look To Speak could work where other communication devices couldn’t easily go— for example, in outdoors, in transit, in the shower and in urgent situations.

Look to Speak is available today on Android 9+ phones, as well as Android One, and Google has published resources to help use the tool.

More Experiments with Google:

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com