Mobile Technology

Skyle lets you control your iPad Pro using your eyes

Skyle lets you control your iP...
Skyle can be combined with a switch to enable double-taps and long presses
Skyle can be combined with a switch to enable double-taps and long presses
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The Skyle system combines a case and an app for the iPad Pro
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The Skyle system combines a case and an app for the iPad Pro
The eye=trsmarts of Skyle are located in the bottom section of the case
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The eye-tracking smarts of Skyle are located in the bottom section of the case
Skyle can be combined with a switch to enable double-taps and long presses
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Skyle can be combined with a switch to enable double-taps and long presses
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Not everyone is able to use their gadgets via the usual taps and swipes, which is why extra accessibility add-ons are so important – such as a new eye-tracking system called Skyle, which works with the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro.

The main part of Skyle is a case that the iPad Pro slots into. The case features a scanner using two eye-tracking methods, dark pupil tracking and binocular tracking, that can measure the direction of a gaze with a high degree of accuracy.

When set up in front of the user, just about any app can be controlled using a directed look rather than a tap. It enables what's known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and it's compatible with apps specifically developed via the AAC protocol, including Proloquo2Go, GoTalk NOW, and TouchChat.

"Skyle has been specifically created to utilize the power of the iPad Pro, turning it into an AAC device that can be controlled completely with your eyes," explains developer Inclusive Technology, describing it as "the perfect solution for people with conditions such as cerebral palsy, ALS, Rett syndrome or spinal cord injury."

Of course iPads are some of the most versatile gadgets around. They can keep you in touch with friends and family, control your smart home, tap into music and movie streaming libraries, and much more besides. All of this is accessible with just a look once Skyle is set up.

The Skyle system combines a case and an app for the iPad Pro
The Skyle system combines a case and an app for the iPad Pro

In most cases, apps built with eye-tracking in mind are going to work best, as they feature simplified layouts and larger icons (such as the smart home EnvirON app, for example). However, all apps should be at least partly usable through a combination of Skyle and the accessibility settings built into iPadOS.

There's a dedicated Skyle app for the iPad Pro that handles interactions with the case, and the case draws its power straight from the Apple tablet, so there's no need for an additional power source. Pointing devices (like a mouse) can be used alongside the eye tracking as well, if necessary.

The Skyle app and a built-in switch port on the case also lets users simulate taps, double-taps, and tap-and-hold operations that would otherwise be carried out using presses on the screen.

Apple itself has recently been making strides forward in terms of the accessibility of its devices. Voice Control is a new feature rolled out with iOS 13 last year, for example, which allows iPad apps and menus to be operated via spoken commands.

While the Skyle system can be hugely beneficial for those people who can't interact with an iPad in the normal way, it doesn't exactly come cheap. The retail price is US$2,995.

Product page: Skyle

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