Accessibility takes a magic leap with Apple Watch gesture control

Any enterprise eager to meet accessibility and diversity targets now has additional reasons to consider Apple’s technologies, with Assistive Touch for Apple Watch hinting at a gesture-based future for wearable tech.

Accessibility for the rest of us?

Apple made a series of announcements to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which is today. New accessible user interface (UI) enhancements included support for third-party, eye-tracking hardware to control iPads and a very interesting use of machine vision intelligence so your device can identify objects within images when using voice to control the device.

But it’s Assistive Touch for Apple Watch that feels most like watching Minority Report, because it introduces new gesture controls. These use built-in motion sensors inside the watch, including the gyroscope, accelerometer, optical heart rate sensor, and on-device machine learning to detect subtle differences in muscle movement and tendon activity.

These gestures are then translated into actions, so it’s possible to answer a call by clenching your hand as your raise your wrist, or to scroll an on-page app interface by moving your hand.

How to use Assistive Touch on Apple Watch

Assistive Touch understands a small number of gestures. It knows when you make a “pinch” by bringing your thumb and forefinger together. It also recognizes when you clench your fist, move your arm, or shake your hand. These gestures can be combined to invoke controls on an Apple Watch.

From what Apple has told us so far, Assistive Touch lets you do the following:

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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