Eye-tracking and control technology manufacturer Tobii Technology has teamed up with Lenovo to produce a prototype notebook which the user can control with the blink of an eye. The integrated eye control technology allows the eyes to point at, select and scroll icons or objects on the screen, or can be used in conjunction with more familiar input methods to enhance the user experience or increase productivity. The company is currently demonstrating one of the 20 fully functional conceptual prototypes at CeBIT 2011, along with other eye-tracking examples from its portfolio.
Eye-tracking and control technology developed by Sweden's Tobii is currently allowing users who don't have full use of their limbs to better interact with computers. Surgeons using monitors to get up close and personal with a patient on an operating table are offered a whole new dimension with eye-tracking technology. Gaming is another development area for the technology – imagine being able to control a character's movements with a handheld device but aim a weapon with your eyes, or handle the weaponry with a controller and use eye-tracking to look around the virtual world.
The notebook prototype on show at CeBIT 2011 allows users to open an icon or widget by glancing at it, zoom in and out of images, can automatically center on the area being viewed, and switch between open windows or browse through emails and documents without touching an input device. The device also has advanced power-saving features like auto dim, which activates when the system detects that a user is not looking and brightens up the screen when it registers a user's eyes.
"More than anything else, the Tobii laptop prototype is proof that our eye tracking technology is mature enough to be used in standard computer interfaces," said Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of Tobii Technology. "To reach a state where the technology is part of the average computer, we need to make it smaller and cheaper. We believe that this can be realized in a couple of years by partnering with the right manufacturer."
The technology is currently on show at the Tobii booth at CeBIT 2011, along with other eye-tracking innovations such as a brand new 300 Hz eye tracker developed for research and analysis called the Tobii TX 300, the Tobii glasses, and the Tobii C15 with the CEye eye control unit.