In another 48 hours, Samsung will finally uncover the next iteration of its flagship Galaxy S smartphone – the Galaxy S4 – at a release event in New York March 14. Despite being a yet-to-be-released device, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has already created so much craze that many people within the tech world even tend to believe that Apple iPhone’s supremacy in the smartphone market will be at stake.
Over the last few months, a lot of rumors and speculations surrounding the Galaxy S4 have surfaced online, contributing to make the handset one of the most talked-about devices of 2013. But one particular rumored feature of the Galaxy S4 that has become the talk of the town of late is a fancy eye-tracking technology that will allow the device to track users’ eye-movements to scroll through the screen.
A report in The New York Times earlier this month said, citing a Samsung employee that the Galaxy S4 would be able to track the users’ eyes to determine where to navigate on the screen. “For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text.”
With the existing Galaxy S3, Samsung has already taken advantage of the technology by adding the “Smart Stay” feature that prevents the display backlight from turning off while the user is looking at the screen. That said the company is expected to improvise on this ground with the Galaxy S4.
If you are an iPhone owner and want to have the same eye-tracking feature on your phone, don’t consider yourself out of luck just yet. The NY Times came out with another report Tuesday saying that the South Korean tech giant won’t be the only company to include the new eye-tracking feature in its upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone as the feature could also make its way to Apple iPhone and other devices as well.
The report spoke about an Israel-based start-up company called Umoove that has been working on eye-tracking technology for three years and is willing to offer eye and head-tracking technology solutions “to anyone, including device makers like Apple and software developers who make mobile apps.”
Founded in 2010, Umoove said that it had been developing the technology for smartphones and tablets that would be able to track users’ eye and head movements using the device’s front-facing camera, no matter whether it’s a low-resolution camera or the ones found in the high-end smartphones.
While tilting the head will control scrolling, eye movements will control actions like drawing shapes. In addition, “staring at an object on the screen for a few seconds can select it,” while a head nod will be able to hit “O.K.” to answer a command prompt, said the report.
Moti Krispil, a founder and chief executive of Umoove told the NY Times that the company would soon offer a Software Development Kit (SDK) to developers to apply the technology to applications.
Krispil said that the company has been working with “large device manufacturers” for several months. Although he didn’t name any, he did confirm that the uMoove tool kit would initially work with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system.
Krispil didn’t confirm whether its eye-tracking technology would be the same one that had been widely rumored to be used in the Galaxy S4. But according to him, making the feature confined to just one device, the Galaxy S4, would stifle its potential.