A newly published European patent application from Samsung details a method for controlling a smartphone through what basically amounts to head tracking with a front-facing camera. And while there's no indication in the document or from Samsung itself when or where we might first see this tech put in place (many innovations get patented but never become publicly available), intomobile points out that the application was filed in July, not too long after the release of the Galaxy S4, so it could be part of an R&D iteration cycle in preparation for creating a successor.
The application specifically notes that such a technology could be used in situations where users are unable to touch the phone or wearing gloves that don't register on a touch screen. Instead, operations on the phone could be controlled through head gestures like a nod, eye movements, or maybe even a pronounced eyebrow raise for advanced users.
The patent application surfaces the same week that a Samsung exec at CES said that the company was looking into iris-scanning technology but stopped short of saying it would be part of the Galaxy S5. He did, however, say that the new flagship Android phone could be expected this spring, around the same time we first met the Galaxy S4 last year.
I, for one, can't wait to see if head-banging finally makes a come back this year... as a socially awkward new way to scroll through a web page.
I've contacted Samsung for comment and will update this post once I hear back.