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Input Devices

Video CES: Using Eye Movements to Control a Computer or TV (Video) 43

Imagine not being able to move a mouse or use a keyboard to control your computer. Frustrating, right? A company Timothy Lord found at CES named Eyetech has a solution for this problem: an eye tracker system that can control your computer or TV (or whatever) purely through eye movements. This isn't something you buy on a whim; the system costs $3000. That's a lot, but Eyetech claims they were the first ones to produce a high-accuracy eye tracker for less then $20,000. Obviously, this is a boon to profoundly disabled people. But Eyetech's Keith Jackson says, in the video, that they also have customers who use Eyetech instead of a mouse because of carpal tunnel syndrome, and that with voice recognition and on-screen keyboards -- and Eyetech, of course -- you can use your computer without (literally) lifting a finger.

Keith: My name is Keith Jackson with EyeTech Digital Systems. We are here at CES 2013 showing off our new eye-tracking technology for TV displays and also for PCs. It will enable consumers to control their whole display with just their eye movements. It uses a single camera and infra-red light technology that we’ve developed over the last sixteen years.

And so you just look where you want to select and you can either blink to click, use a deliberate blink; that way you can naturally blink and it won’t accidentally click on you. Or you just stare at where you want to select, it is called a dual click, and it works really well.

And it is available for consumers to buy. It works with Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well. It works with single or both eyes. The applications primarily are for helping people with disabilities, but we’ve had a lot more business professionals who are struggling with carpal tunnel, RSI, use the technology to replace their mouse. And it works right out of the box, with voice recognition technology like Dragon Naturally Speaking or the built-in for Windows as well.

The behind-the-scenes algorithm works really well across a wide variety of eyes, and the cursor movement technology we have is called a Smart Cursor algorithm. So for large movements, the cursor will respond really quickly and accurately, and for smaller movements where precision is needed, it will move a lot smoother and more naturally.

There are special onscreen keyboards for the disabled, or you can use the onscreen keyboard built in to Windows. It has border recognition and you can also preprogram pages in those special onscreen keyboard programs that our partners develop.

Come on over here. So you want to use it in Windows 8? Okay. So I am launching our program Quick Access, it is a software we designed. It works really well inside Windows 8, Windows 7 or XP. It uses a hot spot technology, so if I look off screen over the blue hot spot, it will pull up my menus, my right click, left click, double click and drag, zooms, and it will pull up our Avatar, Eyesaac we call him, and do a quick calibration.

So you can see a little bit behind the scenes how the technology works. It uses a dark pupil technique, and you can see those two white glints on the pupil is how our eye tracking camera is able to accurately track on the screen.

So I will do a quick calibration. I just follow the target. It will maintain calibration. Meaning I could go grab lunch, come back, and it will maintain eye control on my eyes. I don’t have to recalibrate every time I use the system. So right now, you are just comfortably at arm’s length, you can also track a little bit farther away with some of our other models. But the device actually just clips on to your display using a magnetic mounting capability. No tools are required.

And again you can order this online through our online retailer or directly through on our website, eyetechds.com.

Tim: What does it retail for?

Keith: It is $3000 and it comes with the hardware, the onscreen software program called Quick Access, and it also comes with a two-year hardware warranty and a 60-day money back guarantee. So I will go ahead and pull up Windows 8; say I want to check my stocks, I can check my stocks, or launch a video, just by blinking to select. I can easily scroll; scroll left and right, and it is a very quick natural way to compute hands-free.

So I will go ahead and blink, to go off. So I am going to open up some music. It is set for 1/3 of a second to click. So that way you can naturally blink your eyes, and not have to accidentally click on something. It is very natural. It does take some practice.

But actually our CEO of EyeTech, he developed the first Windows-based eyetracking mouse in 1996. And he has been using that technology as his mouse for 16 years. He is the longest active eye tracker on the planet. And he uses it in combination with voice recognition technology Dragon Naturally Speaking for completely hands-free computing and it has really saved his engineering career. He can still program, control his computer, and he is able to do things with his eyes that most of us can just do with our hands.

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CES: Using Eye Movements to Control a Computer or TV (Video)

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  • by justaguylikeme ( 963377 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @02:55PM (#42970355)
    No more worrying about click throughs or whatever. Imagine your computer or TV just being able to report back to ad central which ads the users are looking at. THAT is the only impetus that would ever push this technology forward into common use in the future. It would, of course, be marketed as a convenience for the user or viewer, but it all comes back to the advertisers wanting to know exactly what the user is focusing on. Don't think for a minute that that information wouldn't be a gold mine to the right people, privacy be further damned!

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