Tobii and Lenovo show eye-controlled laptop prototype

By on March 1, 2011, 6:31 PM
Lenovo and Tobii Technology have unveiled a laptop prototype that can be controlled by the user's eye movements. In addition to the familiar keyboard and touchpad input hardware, Lenovo's prototype packs Tobii's eye-tracking technology that lets users point, select or scroll with only their eyes. People with disabilities already use the technology, but it has yet to enter the mainstream because of technological and financial constraints.

However, according to Barbara Barclay, Tobii's North American general manager, the company's hardware is almost ready for primetime. "For the first time, the technology is nearly small enough and cheap enough for inclusion in every laptop," Barclay said. "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," said Tobii CEO Henrik Eskilsson.

The technology isn't perfect yet, but Barclay believes that most laptop makers in the next two years will offer an optional eye-tracking add-on for a few hundred bucks. In the meantime, Lenovo has built 20 units to test and refine the eye-tracking function. As it stands, systems outfitted with the eye sensor are roughly twice as thick as a standard notebook. Engadget has posted an impressive video demo of the prototype at CeBIT (embedded above).

User Comments: 5

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ramonsterns said:

Now *that* is something that should be worked on.

Instead of garbage 3D technology.

Raswan Raswan said:

Neat idea, but if they want to go more widely commercial I think they need a new, intuitive UI. Seemed a little cumbersome, what with the combining of key clicks and eye movements, and it I would imagine eye fatigue becomes an issue pretty quickly. Still, kudos for the development and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Classic Rock said:

I can see someone modding or using this for online gaming, like Call of Duty.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

yea if it works well enough it would be awesome for any FPS. I just wander what happens if you go to turn around to talk to someone.

TrekExpert TrekExpert said:

Wow. This is impressive. What I would like to see is the sensor bar made into something like the Wii sensor which you can place on top of your monitor. If the price is right I would definitely consider buying this when it comes out.

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