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Eye-controlled Laptops are Coming

Visitors to last week’s C-bit trade fair in Hanover, Germany saw the future of computer technology. And it’s mouse-free.

This is the first laptop with built-in eye control – a development we all need according to Tobii Technology’s Jan-Erik Lundkvist. The technology is being tested by children playing computer games… hands-free.

Lundkvist says: “Natural user interface is something that is on top of all computer manufactures interest list today and being able to use your gaze to scroll, flip pages and do things like that is really natural and intuitive.”

The system shines an infra-red light into the eye and uses the reflections to work out where the user is looking. From that, it decides what the user wants to do.

Lundkvist explains, while giving a demonstration:

“I’m actually scrolling the text and when I read the text it starts to scroll for me automatically. It knows where I’m looking and is enhancing my ability. I don’t need to do anything, I just read the text and it scrolls automatically. And I can flip the pages by just looking at them. I don’t use my hands, I just look at the sidebars here.”

Once its ready for the market, Tobii believes the technology has huge potential to help people with motor disabilities. Lundkvist says it could also be applied to cars to alert drivers if they are falling asleep. And not only does it know what you’re looking at, it also knows when you’ve gone and will turn itself off.

According to Tobii: “The technology is mature enough today to be used in everyday computing, although it is a bit big still and it costs a bit too much money. But a couple of years from now it really will be into every consumer computer we think, at least laptops on a higher end.”

Bottom line: Swedish firm Tobii Technology has unveiled its new prototype, the world’s first eye-controlled laptop. The device allows a user to operate the computer without having to drag, drop or click with a mouse.