Google’s Project Gameface lets you control video games with winks and smiles

Google’s Project Gameface lets you control video games with winks and smiles

Although there have been efforts to make video game controllers more adaptable and accessible to a wider audience who might not be able to use a traditional gamepad as it is designed to be used, Google is working to completely remove physical controllers from the equation. Instead, his Gamef projectace allows games to be cheek use only simple head movements and facial gestures.

One of the announcements made yesterday Google I/O 2023 which was not part of the main stage demos was the cleverly named Project Gameface, which, as the name suggests, focuses on a player’s face as a control mechanism. While products like Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller Completely reinvent the gamepad with uniquely shaped, oversized buttons and controllers designed to be used with more than just fingers for those with reduced mobility, Gamef Projectace is rather designed for players like Lance Carr, who is a streamer living with muscular dystrophy: a disease that gradually breaks down and weakens skeletal muscle over time.

Playing with Muscular Dystrophy | GameFace project with Lance Carr | Google

Head-following mice aren’t a new idea, but they mostly rely on large head movements or eye blink tracking. That’s what Carr relied on until he lost all his play equipment in a fire: a tragedy that had at least one silver lining, as Google engineers decided to step in and not only help replace its head-tracking mouse, but also significantly improve it.

Gamef Projectace is the result: an open-source, hands-free gaming mouse that relies on an out-of-the-box webcam pointed at the user’s face. A handful of machine learning models track 468 unique points on the face, allowing GameFace to accurately detect not just head movements, but deliberate facial gestures as well. These can then be translated into mouse clicks or other shortcuts. To be as accommodating as possible, Project Gameface even lets you adjust the size of a gesture, so those who can only do subtle face movements can also benefit.

google says The GameFace project is still in development and not quite ready for prime time yet, but it made it available via GitHub for those who want to try or contribute to ongoing work on it.


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