Interactive Eyesight


By Tim Moran

As one who is not crazy about the mouse or trackpad or any of the other current ways with which to interface with the computer, I was struck by another alternative UI that has surfaced (some previous discussion here), this one making use of your eyes.

A new technology from the Swedish firm Tobii Technology Inc. is said to track where you look, turning eyesight in "an interactive element."

The initial use for this technology revolves around gaming. As the tech tracks your vision and determines where you are looking at the screen, it can allow the user to, say, play a game that would, in effect, give you Superman-like X-ray vision. Envision (pun intended), if you will, burning up "incoming asteroids with a laser that hits where you look." Sounds kinda cool--something game players would certainly get a kick out of.

But since the world of computing is not just for gamers, Tobii also recently demonstrated the use of this technology in a less frenzied fashion. It showed how a computer user was able to scroll text on the screen in response to eye movements. Pretty neat.

I doubt this technology will be productized any time soon, of course. And in any event, the company doesn't see it as a replacement for a mouse or keyboard. Eye-tracking is said to be a complementary technology, one that would work along with the traditional devices to make computers faster and more efficient.

Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii's Analysis Solutions business, calls eye-tracking an "idea generator," with the laptop a way of showing that the techynology could expand beyond niche use.