Introducing Opera Face Gestures

At Opera we are always working on new ways to make your browsing faster. Eight years ago we introduced Mouse Gestures as a way to speed up your interaction with the browser and focus on what’s important: the content you’re looking at. We didn’t stop there, in 2005 we introduced Voice Navigation on the desktop and more recently we have worked with Nintendo to create a browser that takes full advantage of the “Wiimote” and later, the touchscreen in the DSi.

Looking ahead, we recognize the future importance of touch interfaces, but we believe that there is another input device that is already present in most new computers and it’s ready to enable a whole new way of user-interaction: the webcam.

Today we introduce Face Gestures, a revolutionary technology designed to make interacting with your browser easier and simpler on computers with cameras. Face Gestures lets you perform frequent browsing operations with natural and easy to make face gestures. By using an internal technology dubbed Face Observation Opera Language, we are able to recognize pre-determined facial expressions and match them to commands on the Opera browser.

You can try Face Gestures today by downloading the latest Opera 10 alpha snapshot or check out the video below to learn more.

Setting up Face Gestures

To enable Face Gestures press F8. You will hear a beeping sound as soon as Opera finishes calibrating your passive facial expression. Please don’t close your eyes, move your head or make any facial expressions while Face Gestures is calibrating.

Look at me

Among many others, the following gestures are currently included:

  • Initial stance Relaxed expression
  • Back Left wink
  • Forward Right wink
  • New Tab Double wink
  • Reload Shake head
  • Go to Home Page Roll eyes / Fake smile
  • Scroll Up Raise eyebrows
  • Scroll Down Frown eyebrows
  • Zoom In Suck cheeks
  • Zoom Out Puff cheeks
  • Bookmark Page Lick up
  • Open Speed Dial Waggle tongue

As always, we encourage all feedback and suggestions you may have. Please upload your gestures suggestions as a response to the above video in YouTube.

Security Considerations

No personal information or images are sent back to Opera when Face Gestures is enabled, so don’t worry about how you look.

Known Issues

As with any beta release there are some known issues with the current version of Face Gestures. Please read below before reporting a bug.

Beards and hair styles

Face Gestures is compatible with most types of facial hair and haircuts. But if your face is covered with more than 25% of facial hair, recognition errors may occur. Please note that handlebars and goatees are compatible independently but if combined recognition will decrease. At the moment soul-patches crashes the browser and it refuses to relaunch, we are looking into this problem. Bushmen beards and emo haircuts are not supported.

Adult Web sites

Users visiting Web sites that contain adult content sometimes make unconscious facial expressions. If Opera keeps opening Speed Dial and Zooming In and Out, please be aware that this not a bug. It may be useful to disable Face Gestures for a better experience. Also remember that wiping your cache is recommend after visiting untrusted websites.

Financial Web sites

For compatibility reasons Face Gestures auto-detects financial news services and disables itself. The current version of the recognition software is unable to adapt fast enough to the sudden change in the users expression map. As soon as the new version is available you will be prompted to install stimulus_package.patch.

Download Opera 10 Alpha with Face Gestures or share your experience at My Opera.