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Does This Headline Know You're Reading It? 140

An anonymous reader writes "Not yet, but it could. German artificial intelligence researchers are combining JavaScript with eye-tracking hardware to create 'text 2.0,' which 'infers user intentions.' Unimportant words also fade out while you're skimming the text, and a bookmark automatically appears if you glance away. It can pronounce the words you're reading, and reading certain words can trigger the appearance of footnotes or even translations, biographies, definitions, and sound effects or animations, almost like the truly interactive books in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. 'With the help of an eye tracker, Text 2.0 follows your progress and presents effects just in time,' the researchers explain in a video. Meanwhile, DFKI has already created a free 'Processing Easy Eye Tracker plugin' (or PEEP) to manipulate windows with what they call 'gaze-controlled tab expose,' while there's speculation similar technology may be adopted by Apple. Apple has already purchased Tobii's eye-tracking hardware, and 'Whether these are for internal research only or for a future product, Apple is characteristically not saying.'"

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Does This Headline Know You're Reading It?

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    Damn it, I guess this webcam built into my laptop has suddenly been rendered damned near completely useless.

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @03:27PM (#31588100)

    Yet another product that will fail. I am cross eyed no surgery will ever be able to straighten my eyes out enough for a computer to track corectly. Let alone what happens if you wear glasses. The refraction or in some cases polarized lens and bifocals will throw such setups into disarray.

    What hapens if more than one person is looking at the screen? I forgot who but some one recently made camera with motion sensing that couldn't detect black people in less than perfect lighting. What happens if some is wearing a colored contact lens? Will that throw the system off?

    These lab tests always seem to fail in the real world.

  • by Dumnezeu ( 1673634 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @03:54PM (#31588400)

    These lab tests always seem to fail in the real world.

    True, but the concept is still pretty cool! What if you apply it to something else, like a "smart" book? What if the text automatically changes the appearance so that people with eye problems won't need to wear their glasses or will be able to read when even their glasses couldn't help. Those "details" you speak of are actually details. As a product, in its current state, Text 2.0 will fail... but don't forget, there are still many people with lots of money out there who are interested in these weird projects. All one has to see is the potential of a product, not the product its self.

  • by Kozz ( 7764 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @04:21PM (#31588732)
    You mean like this? []
  • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @04:54PM (#31589174)
    eye tracking is cool, but the description of this use of it sounds lame. Most of this functionality already exists in the user's head. I already form visions of what i'm reading. i already ignore words that i am not looking at. The bookmark part when i look away sounds mildly useful, but the rest sounds like the kind of overzealous anticipatory systems we have today.

    my iphone constantly switches to landscape if i so much as pivot while looking at it, but refuses to flip when i legitimately turn it. Predictive text and autocompletion on my phone and in office suites screw me constantly by replacing legitimate words with what the application thinks i really meant. I'm leary of any computer system that tries to anticipate my desires or predict my actions. To my experience they are usually wrong and a hinderence more than a help.

    That said, i do think eye tracking is cool. And i don't know what this research will ultimately yeild. If they discover that this paradigm sucks, it's time well spent.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend