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Eye-Controlled Laptop Unveiled

David Gilbert


Eye-Controlled Laptop Unveiled

We are just getting used to the concept of touch interfaces on all sorts of device being commonplace, but could a new prototype laptop unveiled by Lenovo today see eye control becoming the way of the future?

At CeBIT in Hanover, Lenovo has displayed a laptop with integrated eye tracking technology from Tobii, a market leader in the area from Sweden. The laptop is a fully functional conceptual prototype and the first step in bringing its eye tracking technology to serial production and consumer products. The interface allows users to use their eyes to point, select and scroll in an intuitive way. “More than anything else, the Tobii laptop prototype is proof that our eye tracking technology is mature enough to be used in standard computer interfaces. To reach a state where the technology is part of the average computer, we need to make it smaller and cheaper. We believe that this can be realized in a couple of years by partnering with the right manufacturer,” comments Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of Tobii Technology.

Only 20 of the prototype laptops have been produced, split evenly between Lenovo and Tobii who will be demonstrating the technology around the globe. According to Tobii, it is as if the computer understands you and with just a glance at an icon more information will be presented. You can zoom pictures or maps and automatically centre on the area you are looking at. The computer can auto-dim and brighten the screen when it recognises your eyes to increase battery time. Eye control can also speed things up by enabling new and intuitive ways to switch between open windows, and browse your emails and documents.

“What we find most exciting are the opportunities that eye control as part of multi-modal interfaces offer consumer electronics manufacturers in a range of product categories. We look forward to working with our partners to find many exciting ways to share and integrate this technology to advance their work,” said Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America. Obviously there are many questions to be asked about this technology and until we try it out for ourselves, we’ll reserve judgment.

So do you think that eye control will become the de facto control system in the coming years or will it go the way of the Dodo?


March 2, 2011, 12:35 am

Got my pre-order for one of these on amazon already... :L

Francis Phillips

March 2, 2011, 3:59 am

That’s it I’m giving up on Trusted Reviews and all other technology reviews.

In the past I used to read reviews of devices I’d already bought. Perhaps looking for some sought of post purchase gratification/support. But things have moved on. I now don’t buy a device unless its highly reviewed â€" lets face it the average mobile phone shop wont let you try anything other than a dummy or give you more than a minute with an ‘actual’ device.

Problem is because I’ve become so addicted to technology sites/reviews no device is ever going to give me the satisfaction I need by the time I actually get my hands on it. You see I now know what’s coming and whilst I might be looking forward to taking delivery of the Samsung Galaxy S 2 (or whatever) before I even get it I know the tech inside is old hat. So I’ll be disappointed. In fact I’m disappointed with it already and I haven’t even got it yet.

My phone contract expires in 16 days and whatever phone I get will be inferior because it wont have a 16 core processor, a 3D display 962GB of memory, Dolby stereo with a sub woofer, a pull out beer can opener and nor will it be controlled by my lovely blue eyes!

So I figure that if I don’t read your great site anymore after just a year I will be impressed with whatever Carphone Warehouse offers me as being the ‘latest best since sliced bread’ because I wont know any better. It will feel better in my hand and I will remain satisfied with it until a friend has something better.

Goodbye Trusted reviews……………….


March 3, 2011, 4:10 am

Granted, I haven't actually seen this laptop, but I don't think it will work. People are too easily distracted. If an icon in the task bar draws my attention for a brief period of time, it would pop up more information and it would quickly becoming rather irritating. Staring at the weather applet doesn't necessarily mean I would want it to do something; I could be contemplating if I ought to get an extra shirt before going out.

I'm not sure we're close to letting computers take actions "automatically" without any unambiguous physical human action. Computers would have to understand a lot more about human behaviour before they could accurately guess what a human wants... We need to get to the future somehow, but I think there will be a lot of frustration along the way with unintended actions and windows popping up all over the screen. Think about voice control: it was lauded as the next big thing at the end of the 20th century, but it's still hard to find these days and rarely done right. Implying human intention from eye movement seems be a lot harder still, so I don't think we should hold our breath.


March 3, 2011, 2:22 pm

@Duodecim - Now there's an idea... controlling a laptop by holding our breath!


March 3, 2011, 2:53 pm

@Francis Phillips: Pull-out beer can opener? Fantastic idea. If Victorinox were to make a Swiss army knife with a mobile phone built in, I'd be queueing up for one. It'd be a lot more useful to me than the smartphones people're churning out.

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