PC users could have access to the same technology used by Professor Stephen Hawking within two years, through commercial laptops featuring eye-controlled user interfaces.
Swedish firm Tobii Technology unveiled the innovation at the CeBIT trade fair in Germany this morning, claiming the laptop is the first in the world to offer optical control and marks an important breakthrough for its technology.
The firm has made a name for itself in providing unique user interfaces to disabled users, but is now pitching for the mainstream market with the Lenovo-made prototype laptop, which chief Henrik Eskilsson said proves his firm’s “eye tracking technology is mature enough to be used in standard computer interfaces.”
To-date the eye tracking technology has been supplied to 1,000 academic and commercial customers, but Eskilsson says the firm needs to focus on cutting the size and price to drive it into mainstream PCs, estimating it will take another two years to complete the work.
The technology tracks user’s eye movements to control actions including opening and closing files, scrolling through documents, and even zooming in on pictures. Lenovo has produced 20 prototype laptops for development and demonstrations.
Tobii is also demonstrating a new tracker for research and analysis and a version designed for mobile devices at the show.