Jan. 7, 2013 at 1:53 AM ET
Eye-tracking technology. It sounds somewhat creepy initially, but it has plenty of incredible applications. It can allow individuals with disabilities to control computers, it can change the way people read e-books, it can give games a twist and more.
A company named Tobii has been working on eye-tracking technology for quite some time, and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, it showed off an accessory dubbed Tobii REX. Tobii REX connects to a computer via USB and is attached to the bottom of a display. It gives your computer the ability to track and interpret your gaze after a quick one-time calibration.
Before you get too excited, you should know this: Tobii REX doesn't replace your mouse or keyboard. But it definitely changes how you use these accessories.
For example, if you want to select something using TobII REX, you simply stare at it and tap a pre-designated button on your keyboard. (It's as if your eyes serve as a mouse and pressing the keyboard button substitutes for a click.)
Despite a somewhat sloppy calibration process, I found that Tobii's eye-tracking technology was pleasantly accurate when I tested it out. I easily selected emails from a list, scrolled through websites (though the accuracy of this was initially a bit inconsistent), selected map areas to zoom in on, and typed out numbers using an on-screen calculator ... with my eyes.
Eventually, the folks at Tobii hope to have their eye-tracking technology built straight into devices such as laptops, tablets and so on. But for now, they are focusing on putting the Tobii REX into developers' hands (in exchange for about a thousand bucks) and encouraging them to build eye-tracking friendly apps. There are no details as to when ordinary users will be able to get their hands on one of these accessories, or how much it will cost at that point.
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