Developers Unveil Laptop With Eye-Tracking Technology
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The latest in computer technology is something that you have to see to believe. In fact, you have to look at it to make it work.
Tobii Technology, in conjunction with Lenovo computers, has developed a laptop with eye-tracking technology built in so that you can do certain things just by looking at them.
“Generally what's happening with the technology is a process called corneal reflection,” explains Barbara Barclay of Tobii Technology. “So there are two infrared lights and they are illuminating the eye and we take the retinal reflection and the glint of the eye and simultaneously we take images with two cameras at a rate of about 30-40 images per second of both eyes, we build a 3D model of the eye, and we always know where you're looking.”
The technology is not just geared to those without control of their hands, but for everyone as a supplement to the mouse and keyboard.
Certain actions, like reading and having the text scroll down as you're reading or navigating through special menus like the tool bar at the bottom or on the side, can replace the keyboard or the mouse temporarily. But many of the applications require you touch something else, either a keyboard button or a mouse button, to make it work, that way the computer doesn't act like it has a mind of its own when you're simply looking around the screen.
For example, there can be no more hunting for your little cursor on the screen. Instead, just look where you want to click, click the mouse, and there it is. Engineers or architects analyzing detailed digital models just have to look at the spot they'd like to zoom in on and click the mouse to make it happen.
Another place this computer might come in handy is somewhere like an operating room, where the doctor scrubs in and then isn't supposed to touch anything but the tools and the patient.
“When you're a doctor doing surgery or you're a dentist and you have a sterile environment you don't want to touch anything with your hands but you need to look at an x-ray or an image of somebody,” Barclay says.
Developers say this technology should be available to buy within just the next couple years, when they expect it'll become smaller and not add too much to the price of the computer to dissuade people from choosing it as an added option.