Review: Face Browse Lets Users Scroll through Web Pages Hands Free

Review: Face Browse Lets Users Scroll through Web Pages Hands Free

If you’ve ever tried using your iPhone or iPad to consult a manual or read a recipe while cooking or while arm-deep working under the hood of a car—any situation requiring both hands—you know how frustrating it can be to constantly have to reach over and flick the screen up to the next section. Enter Face Browse ($1.99). A web-browsing app that helps solve the issue by watching your face. No touch navigation required.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

The impetus for creating the app was based on an earlier project to help disabled users, and an Apple watch browser app called WatchWeb by the same developer (young indie dev Alex Wulff) is also available. I tested Face Browse on my iPhone, and found it mostly worked as advertised with a couple of exceptions. The app has the requisite controls for a browser: an address bar, favorites shortcut, etc. You use it like any other mobile browser, except, or until, you turn your head. The app is tracking your facial movement and when it detects a turn of the head, it scrolls up or down (depending on the direction you turn).

The scrolling is a little herky-jerky at times; and I noticed that when I was in dimmer lighting conditions, it had issues accurately detecting turn,s particularly to the left (to scroll back up). The default mode includes a live thumbnail of your face while you use the app, which can be switched off or minimized. You can tune the tracking speed, which may help with the accuracy, though I often found it hard to keep my head centered and not experiencing some level of unexpected scrolling.

Pros

  • Clever and unique use of iPhone camera function

Cons

  • Can be a little erratic

Final Verdict

Face Browse is perfect for disabled users and DIY’ers and cooking enthusiasts whose hands are engaged in a task. I suggest having your phone positioned on a stand, and in good lighting to discern your facial profile for best effect. Alex is also working on updated app versions for YouTube and e-book applications. I have no doubt they will be hits with anyone looking for an alternate method of navigation. iPhone Life stamp of approval!

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.
Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.tumblr.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.