Tobii allows users to "control their computers just by looking at them."
The eye tracker uses infrared lights (like those used in a TV's remote control) to illuminate the pupils, and optical sensors on the computer screen capture the reflection. Tobii can determine the point of gaze and movement of the eyes to within 2 millimeters.
So forget the mouse--"just look at a particular location on the screen, and the cursor goes there immediately."
This is a natural user interface that is fast and intuitive, generally "halving the time needed for many chores."
Eye tracking is being tested and planned by Tobii and others for the following
- Read text down the screen and it automatically scrolls. - Look at a window or folder to choose it. - Use a map by eyeing a location and then touching it to zoom. - Activate controls by holding a glaze for a quarter to half a second. - Play video games by moving through with your eyes. - Gaze at a character and they will stare back at you. - Leave your TV and it pauses until you return.
This technology has the potential to help disabled people (who cannot use a traditional mouse) as well as prevent strains and injuries by reducing some repetitive stress movement.
Within a couple of years, the cost of eye tracking technology is seen as coming down from tens of thousands of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars for a laptop clip-on device or even less for those built right in.
I think another important use for eye tracking is with augmented reality technology, so that as people navigate and look around their environment, sensors will activate that can provide them all sorts of useful information about what they are seeing.
Ultimately, where this is all going is the addition of a virtual 4th dimension to our vision--where information is overlaid and scrolling on everything around us that we look at, as desired.
This will provide us with an information rich environment where we can understand more of what we see and experience than ever before. Terminator, here we come!