aNewDomain.net — If The Eye Tribe has its way, you will only have eyes for your smartphones and tablets. The company has developed an inexpensive system that allows you to use your eyes to control your mobile device as an alternative to the touch screen.
I got to check out The Eye Tribe for Android for myself at the ShowStoppers press event at Mobile World Congress (MWC 2014) in Barcelona. Scroll below for my video demo, hands-on experience and analysis of this tech.
And it’s one clever solution. The Eye Tribe system works by shining an invisible infrared light on your face – the same light in your television remote control – and that in turn causes a reflection off your eyes.
The system then uses the device’s camera to scan your face and determine the difference in location between the reflection and the pupil of your eye. This information allows the system to determine where you are looking on the screen.
Each user has to calibrate the screen, but this is a simple step that takes less than 30 seconds. After that is complete, the system can give you new ways to control your device.
For example, you might select an application icon by simply looking at it then tapping the screen anywhere. You could also use your gaze to control a cursor.
I was able to slice and dice in Fruit Ninja far better than I ever could with a touch screen.
The infrared illumination adds nearly nothing to the bill-of-materials cost for a smartphone, and the system only requires a relatively-inexpensive upgrade to the camera sensor. The Eye Tribe plan is to get manufacturers to license this new technology and build it into millions of smartphones and tablets.
Video: Alfred Poor for aNewDomain.net/shooter Al Green and exec producer Justin Webb for aNewDomainTV
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Alfred Poor.
Based in bucolic Bucks County PA, Alfred Poor is a senior technologist here at aNewDomain.net. A 30-year tech journalism vet, he’s internationally renowned for his coverage of displays. He is easily distracted by shiny, sparkly gadgets and that’s why he is covering consumer tech for us, too. Contact Alfred at Alfred@aNewDomain.net, follow him @AlfredPoor and find the +Alfred Poor Google+ stream here. Alfred also is a professional speaker, a bluegrass musician and a sailor. Check out his LinkedIn profile for more.
“OEM vendors could likely add this sensor to their handsets
for just five dollars”
If modifying the device to add eye-tracking only adds 5
dollars to the manufacturing cost, then I’m sure that at least one of the
smartphone, tablet, notebook, and laptop manufacturers will make the supposedly
easy camera modification.
That’s an intriguing idea. Probably an eventuality