Back in 2020, Google released an experimental Android app that lets those with speech and motor impairments communicate by tracking eye gaze. Look to Speak got a high-profile Google ad at the Oscars this evening.
Look to Speak leverages your Android phone’s front-facing camera to let people gaze left or right to select from a list of phrases that’s then read aloud with text-to-speech. The phone is placed in front of a user (preferably mounted) with a clear view of their eyes needed. Besides setting what text appears:
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.
Google’s minute-long ad features close-ups of people’s eyes before showing a demo of Look to Speak in action. A screen recording from a Pixel 5a/5/4a 5G looks to be edited over an unknown device (in a case) with volume rocker on the left edge and six rear-facing camera cutouts. It aired two hours into the broadcast.
The ad ends with Google naming “Look to Speak” and a “Technology that’s built to help” tagline before ending on the company logo. A version of this video with audio descriptions is available here.
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