Last year, Tobii first showed off an eye-tracking control system on a Lenovo notebook that allowed users to point, select or scroll with only their eyes. It was a prototype then and even today it's not quite ready for consumers due to high costs associated with the technology – the whole setup costs around $6,000 and is too bulky to embed in today's skinny laptops. But the company working to overcome those hurdles.
The Swedish firm has garnered quite a bit of attention from media outlets and attendees at this year's CES as they demonstrate two implementations of their "gaze interface". The first is an adaptation of the arcade classic Asteroids, which does away with the joystick or keyboard controlled turret and instead allows users to destroy asteroids simply by looking at them – with impressive accuracy. The second demo allowed users to optically swipe through Windows 8 Metro screens, launch applications, and "click" on even the tiniest buttons.
The technology uses a sensor that sits below the monitor and tracks eye movements, translating them into actions on the screen. Instead of moving the cursor with a mouse or touchpad to click a link or app on the screen, looking it makes the cursor appear there immediately. In its current implementation it still requires some physical interaction with the computer, though. To launch an app from Metro, for example, you press down the Windows key, look at the tile for the app you want, and then release the key.
Looking at a bunch of demo videos, Tobii's eye-tracking technology seems to work really accurately and fast. The technology might still take a couple (or more) years to reach mainstream consumer products, but it is already being tested by market research firms to monitor consumer behavior and by users with disabilities.