Over the past decade, Sweden’s Tobii has been working on adding eye-tracking technology to a mix of user inputs that includes keyboards, mice and touchpads and screens. After demonstrating its GAZE UI for Windows 8 at last year’s CES, the company is set to showcase its first eye-tracking consumer peripheral device which brings the GAZE functionality to any Windows 8 PC at CES 2013. By tracking their eye movements, the Tobii REX allows Windows 8 users to scroll, zoom, navigate and select using their peepers in conjunction with a mouse or touchpad.
Attaching to the bottom of a desktop display and connecting to a PC via USB, the REX is similar to Tobii’s PCEye, a device released in 2011 that is designed to assist users with impaired motor skills perform onscreen actions by looking at, blinking at, or fixing their gaze on an onscreen object. However, the REX is designed to be used in combination with a keyboard, mouse and/or touch interface, rather than replace them. Tobii says its system is a faster and more intuitive way to move the mouse pointer around the screen.
Tobii has announced plans to make just 5,000 Limited Edition units available to consumers this year, with pricing yet to be announced. However, the company has a REX Developer Edition currently available to software developers looking to add GAZE capabilities into new or existing applications. It costs US$995.
Tobii has only released images of the Developer Edition and says the consumer Limited Edition will look slightly different. However, we’d expect it to have a similarly slimmed down form factor compared to the PCEye.
Tobii will be demonstrating the REX and the GAZE functionality at CES 2013 and we’ll be dropping by to check it out.
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