Apple Watch users know they can use the device hands-free thanks to the Siri voice assistant. But with the new update, the wearer can perform tasks with specific hand gestures.
In a statement announcing the features on Wednesday, Apple said the feature was called Assistive Touch and was added to “support users with reduced mobility.”
This feature is one of the many features announced by the tech giant to make its products more accessible to users. Apple is also introducing eye tracking for the iPad, single sign language display via SignTime, and new ways to explore photos with VoiceOver.
“We have always felt that the best technology in the world must meet everyone’s needs, and our teams are working tirelessly to increase accessibility in everything we make,” said Sarah Hurlinger, Apple’s director of global access policies and initiatives, in a statement. .
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On Apple Watch, AssistiveTouch uses the device’s gyroscope and accelerometer, along with an optical heart rate sensor and machine learning, to discover how muscles and tendons move around the wrist and hand.
For example, if a user grasps or pinches their thumb and forefinger, the watch recognizes them and is associated with specific functions.
So if you want to answer a held call, you can squeeze your fist twice to answer.
Users can also integrate their thumb and forefinger to navigate the watch face. During a demonstration in a video released by Apple, the user pressed their fingers to select the “pause” button on the timer, then pressed their fists to confirm their selection.
The demo also shows how users can manipulate the hand movement on the watch using only wrist gestures to scroll through the screens or select menu options.
The new features are expected to be launched later this year.
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