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iOS7 headshaking interface revealed

Face! Face! Face! Give beauty! Face!

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Fanbois fond of whipping their hair back and forth will be pleased to know that hidden in the accessibility options of iOS7 is an interface driven by head movements, although some of the experimenters report being locked into a head-shaking paradigm.

The feature is clearly a beta concept, and aimed at those unable to use a touch screen, but that's not stopped the chaps at 9to5 Mac from producing a video showing how an iPhone or iPad can be controlled by twisting one's head from side to side.

The controls are limited to a glance left and a glance right, so one of them returns the user to the home screen while the other selects the highlighted option. The iOS interface focuses on each option in turn so the user waits until the desired focus is reached then glances sideways to activate it.

Taking the home screen as an example - the focus selects a line of icons at a time, until the user glances sideways, then the icons on that line are each selected in turn until the user glances again.

9to5 Mac has instructions on how to activate the function, though the reader comments aren't encouraging as some found themselves stuck in Accessibility Mode and others experienced irreversible changes to their iPhone's interface - the functionality is clearly beta at best.

Even when it works the result is slow, clunky and clearly inferior to the tap of a finger. It's clearly aimed at those without a finger with which to tap, or perhaps created simply because it is possible to do so.

Smartphones have cameras pointing at our faces, and enough processing power to analyse the images captured by them, but manufacturers have been struggling to find a use for that ability since it became possible.

Android's Face Unlock is little more than a novelty, as few people want to stare at their phone for seconds before using it, and Samsung's pause-video-when-eyes-turn-away function has been rightly ridiculed as unnecessary fluff, so it's hard not to put Apples head-shaking into the same category.

Gesture interfaces are obviously coming, all that processing power has to be applied to something, but so far it's clear that no one, even Apple, knows how facial analysis will be utilised in the next generation of smartphones. ®

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