Touch screens have dominated conversations about improving computer interfaces, one company hopes to shift the public's gaze from the touch screen to eye tracking.
Swedish eye tracking company Tobii has created what it calls the world's first eye-controlled laptop computer. Teaming up with Lenovo, the company has showcased the computers at this year's CeBit conference in Hanover, Germany.
The Tobii interface is integrated into Windows 7, allowing users to navigate the operating system without physically touching a mouse. Instead, by gazing at certain objects, users can interact with them, allowing, in one example, for extra information to be listed about particular objects or icons. This, Tobii says, makes the experience of using a computer much more intuitive, because it gives users the sense that their computers understand them.
Though not yet a consumer product, the twenty eye-controlled laptops that Lenovo created are a proof of concept, pointing to a time where eye tracking technology will be a standard computer interface.
Eye tracking works by beaming infrared light directly at the eye, recording the light's reflection off of the cornea via a camera. That data is then used to determine the direction of the gaze.
Tobii's eye tracking has thus far been used areas ranging from market and behavioral research to assistive technologies for people with conditions like cerebral palsy. Web companies considering redesigns have also used eye tracking technology to determine how to optimize their interfaces.
Tobii says that its technology's inclusion in Lenovo's computers is proof that the technology is ready for the mass market.
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