The touch-free Sesame phone uses facial recognition software.

The touch-free Sesame phone uses facial recognition.

When I think about facial recognition I think eye scanners and government surveillance, but if one Israeli startup has its way facial recognition may soon be changing the face — pun intended — of accessible smart phones.

The Sesame Phone is a modified Google Nexus 5 phone that has been customized to operate using facial recognition and a floating cursor. Users can open apps by saying, “open sesame,” and move the cursor with small head movements. The phone quickly learns its user’s face and allows users to play games, work in apps and theoretically do pretty much anything a user with hands could do. This Wired tester said there are still a lot of bugs, but that is to be expected.

This is the latest of a number of promising new products for people with limited dexterity or upper body control. We’ve previously covered Voiceitt, a new hands-free translation app from another Israeli startup, and there’s the Tecla Shield DOS and its switch-based control system for tablets and phones. About two years ago I fielded a call from a desperate reader searching in vain for ways to help her newly paralyzed son use his cell phone. I was able to give her a few choices, but nothing as sexy as these new options.

Sesame is about half way through a two-month Indiegogo campaign to raise $30,000. Like all crowdfunding campaigns, you can give as much (or as little) as you want, but for $700 you can actually get a Sesame Phone.