Having enabled your fingers and your voice as input devices, Apple is putting your head to good use. A feature in iOS 7, just now getting attention, enables a user to assign a head gesture to an action.
Tilt your head to the left, and, for instance, the iOS device can be set to select a menu item. Tilt it to the right, and it can launch Siri. The feature is part of the extensive accessibility capabilities built into iOS 7 so that users with motor control problems can add an “adaptive accessory” through Bluetooth – or use their head.
But now that the word is getting out, don’t be surprised to see other iPhone or iPad users tilting their heads this way or that to signal what they want to do. And the touchscreen still works with these head controls, so perhaps users will want to add a quick head tilt to bring up apps then touch their choice.
Here’s how to use your head:
• In Settings, go to General, then Accessibility, and select Switch Control.
• Once in Switch Control, make sure it’s off and Auto Scanning is off, then select Switches, Add New Switch, and then Camera.
• Under Camera, select Left Head Movement, and then the action for that movement, such as Select Item. Same for Right Head Movement.
• If you turn Auto Scanning on, you could use a head control to select an item when the scanning gets there.
• Now go back and turn Switch Control on.
A blue bar on the left or right side of the screen will indicate in which direction your iDevice is reading your movement. If the camera can’t see your head, it will display a text notice to that effect at the top.
John Dalton, an analyst who covers user experience for industry research firm Forrester, described this capability as “yet another shoe dropping” in the movement toward more natural gestural control.
He speculated that, with Apple’s new CarPlay leading toward even more interaction in compatible automobiles, a quick head tilt to the camera of your dashboard-mounted iPhone could become part of our repertoire of hands-free commands.