Sweden's eye tracking and control innovator Tobii has announced the release of a stand-alone eye control device called PCEye. Like the laptop-based prototype system demonstrated at CeBIT last month, the device tracks eye movement and translates it into mouse cursor action onscreen. Positioned in front of a PC monitor and connected via USB, the company says that the technology is compatible with a wide range of software and has been primarily designed to improve computer interactivity for users with impaired motor skills, such as stroke victims.

Tobii says that its PCEye works with screen sizes ranging from 15 to 22-inches and has an optimal operational distance of 19.7 – 31.5-inches (50 – 80 cm). Once attached to the monitor via the included free VESA mounting bracket and plugged into the USB port a Windows computer sporting at least a 1GHz dual-core processor, the user will need to perform a one-time calibration that's said to take mere seconds to complete. Numerous calibrations for different users can be stored on one device, useful if the product finds itself in a multi-user environment like a classroom.

PCEye's advanced algorithms and high resolution cameras are claimed to be capable of tracking and registering the eye movement of around 95 percent of users, irrespective of eye color, lighting conditions and head movement. Computer system performance won't suffer at the expense of the device thanks to a built-in processor and, after installing some software, users will be able to control various onscreen actions by looking at, blinking at, or fixing your gaze on an object.

"We have already seen massive interest from the Stroke, Motor Neurone Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis communities, people in different rehab situations, military veterans, people suffering from progressive muscle weakness or neurodegenerative disorders and education institutions," said Tobii's Tara Rudnicki. "We are also overwhelmed by the attention we have received from the development community to extend into Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) eye games."

Available now, Tobii has told Gizmag that the cost of a PCEye system will vary according to the package chosen, but that a standard option will be "in a price range of US$7000."

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