Swedish firm Tobii Technology today unveiled the world's first laptop with integrated eye control. The prototype laptop has been developed in collaboration with computer manufacturer Lenovo it is shown publicly for the first time at CeBIT in Hannover, March 1-5.
Lenovo, the world's fourth largest manufacturer of personal computers, has built the eye-controlled laptop using eye tracking technology from Tobii.
The fully functional conceptual prototype makes the computer interaction more effective. It is as if the computer understands you; just glance at an icon or gadget and more information will be presented; You can zoom pictures or maps and automatically center on the area you are looking at; The computer can auto-dim and brighten the screen when it recognizes 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.
Below are a few examples of how eye control can enhance both user experience and computer performance.
- Mouse pointer positioning: makes the pointer automatically appear where you look
- Open windows expose: makes it easy to toggle between open windows just by looking
- Automatically scroll web pages as you read
- Create eye-controlled sidebars that automatically appear and expand to give instant access to shortcuts
The eye tracker can also be used to enhance security and simplify computer login by adding automatic user identification.
Eye tracking can be also used to automatically adapt the interface based on the user's current activity, state of mind and attention, in a way that becomes intuitive and automatic. Some examples:
- As you are reading, the page scrolls automatically.
- When you use the keyboard or mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out, the zooming is automatically centered to where you are looking.
- If you are working as an operator and have not paid attention to important events, these can automatically be gradually highlighted until you pay attention to them. Establish genuine eye contact with characters in a computer game, and have characters react to the attention of the player.
"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.
"We anticipate that people will be extremely excited to be able to control their computer with their eyes," said Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America. "But what we find most exciting are the opportunities that eye control as part of natural user 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."