First it was touch screen, then voice recognition and now…eye control? One new form of technological control is bringing us back to the days when we would ride our bikes down steep hills cheering those infamous three words, “Look, no hands!” The only thing is, we may now be able to handle our gadgets hands-free, which one day could allow us to move cursors with our eyes and even turn the pages of an e-book without lifting a finger. (Here I thought my wireless remote was high-tech).
Could there be something a tad bit creepy about controlling your computer just by looking at it? Apparently not, as managing your computer in the form of what can feel like a staring contest has been around for about 20 years, and is used mainly by those with disabilities. The technology could be soon released to the masses though, according to NPR (News - Alert).
This ship has been long-sailing, too, as a recently founded eye-control research group in Denmark is hoping to officiate itself as an overseer of this new technology (pun intended).
Check out this video below detailing Eye Tribe’s first ever eye-controlled tablet (One can’t deny that it looks amazing!)
One problem that may be stunting this revolutionary form of user interaction could be its complex costs. Sune Alstrup Johansen of the Gaze Group at the IT University of Copenhagen explains that just a sliver of the world can realistically gain access to these types of “expensive eye trackers.”
NPR continues, “If you look at the big names in eye-control technology, you'll notice that most companies are based in the U.S. or Northern Europe, places where there's enough private wealth or government support to help people with disabilities pay for pricey specialized equipment.”
Bringing this mainstream means making it cost-efficient – something Johansen, a Ph.D student, has been dedicating years to accomplishing, explaining, “After a while, we figured out that probably the best way is to go for a mass-market approach.”
But how could you make it work so that you look at your mobile gadget and control it with your eyes?
By projecting an infrared light at your face in your pupil, the user can then see those reflections made, and with the right algorithms, the device can calculate what you’re looking at, and therefore, what you want to control. First, you have to follow a dot on the screen so the computer can “get to know your eyes.”
The first time user explains how using one of his primary senses felt a bit off, which made him feel “like an unpracticed superhero with lasers coming out of my eyes – which may explain why I somehow [managed] to fail the calibration (twice).”
However, once the process was finalized and the fun was able to begin, the user explains, “it’s pretty amazing.”
John Paulin Hansen, head of the research group that spawned the Eye Tribe, a company striving to make computer eye-control full-fledged, says that integrating eye-control into our everyday lives is inevitable – regardless of what challenges may lie ahead.
“This will happen,” he says. “It's a small part of a very big change that's happening to the way that we interact with computers. I hope our children will look back on us and think, 'Oh my God, it was so hard back then to use a computer. You had to sit down in front of it all day!'”
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Edited by Jamie Epstein