Tobii gives disabled users the power to control iPads with their eyes
Using your eyes to control a computer or laptop might sound like a great way to free up your hands and boost productivity, but for disabled users it could open the door to an online world many of us take for granted. Sweden's Tobii Dynavox has now brought its eye-tracking know-how to Apple's iPad, giving a voice to folks with conditions like cerebral palsy, ALS and spinal cord injury.
Tobii's TD Pilot is like a chunky tablet case that brings native eye-tracking integration to an iPad, with the company leveraging the power of iPadOS 15 to allow users to engage with social media, play games, line up entertainment, access educational apps and so on using their eyes to control an onscreen cursor.
It comes with a bunch of specially-designed augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) software applications too, including TD Talk that converts text generated by eye movement into "natural-sounding speech," a communication toolbox called TD Snap to help facilitate communication with the help of symbols, and a calibration and management suite called TD CoPilot.
The TD Pilot benefits from a rugged design, rocks two integrated 10-W speakers, comes with optional Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and can be mounted to a wheelchair or stand. Tobii's latest eye-tracking hardware is reported to work in most lighting conditions, even outdoors in bright sunlight. And the Made for iPad accessory sports a secondary display around back to make for more natural face-to-face conversations by essentially mirroring what's being entered by the gaze-tracked user.
"We are immensely proud to launch TD Pilot, a life-changing communication solution that empowers people with disabilities to live their fullest lives," said company CEO, Fredrik Ruben. "TD Pilot offers customers a medically certified, eye-controlled communication device for iPad. By bringing our world-leading eye tracking technology to iPad, we have created a powerful and easy-to-use solution to support our customers' needs."
The TD Pilot package is on sale now, and comes supplied with an iPad, connection cables and its own battery. What hasn't been shared is a price, but Tobii notes that potential users may be eligible for funding to help bring this assistive technology into their lives, it can also be prescribed as a medical device by specialists, and even "delivered through insurance systems worldwide." The video below has more.
Product page: TD Pilot