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?