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October 10th, 2013

Tobii-EyeMobileTobii Technology is among the early global leaders in the final-frontier field of “eye tracking,” “gaze interaction,” and “vision-based control.” On Sept. 19 of this year they debuted the Tobii EyeMobile, “a lightweight, highly portable peripheral that brings true eye-control capabilities to popular Windows 8 tablets…for assistive purposes.” The EyeMobile offers people with limited mobility full, unfettered use of modern digital technologies. To get control of off-the-shelf Windows 8 devices and tablet PCs—and everything else, too, before long—will take only simple, unforced, utterly natural eye movements.

And that’s just the beginning. “Eye control” is now a fully funded R&D activity for many companies, large and small. Have we reached a “perfect storm” point where all the pieces are available but lack a proper arrangement? Eye Tribe TrackerThe folks at The Eye Tribe seem to think so: They are selling a tracking device for $99 to early adopters and developers. It comes with an SDK (Software Development Kit) so geeky users can code their own apps to accept tracker input (or finish that new eye-controlled game). Even basic research is getting done, ranging from the nexus of human behavior and anatomy (how do people move when using an iPad rental?) to color perception.

Eye tracking, one step at a time

We sense a critical mass building in the field, so let’s take a quick, necessarily simplified look at what eye tracking involves. Eye trackers use optical sensors and projection patterns to determine, with greater and greater accuracy, the direction of eye movements. Most of the current products employ the principle of corneal-reflection tracking, one of the reflected-light methods. The process relies on five essential steps:

  1. Eye trackers bring signal sensors, image processors, and near-infrared microprojectors together in a precise, particular way;
  2. microprojectors are used to send reflection patterns to the user’s eyes;
  3. image sensors capture the user’s image, eyes, and projection/reflection patterns in real time;
  4. image processors identify features of the user, user’s eyes, and projection/reflection patterns; and
  5. mathematical models continuously crunch the unending stream of numbers representing the eyes’ positions and the user’s “gaze point.”

Humans use “eyecasting” and “eye gazing” as a most efficient means of indicating direction—pointing without fingers. People do this all the time, and not just with other humans. After 50,000 years of co-evolution and two-way domestication, dogs are born hardwired to look into humans’ eyes. With eye-tracking technology we can use our natural gaze to communicate with animals, humans, computers, and other devices. One day, an eye tracker will be as common on a basic computer rental as a webcam is now. Fast, natural, and intuitive, it’s a potent tool just waiting for a few more thoughtful applications—which we will tell you about in coming blogs!

At CRE, we pay close attention to all the tech trends that you need to know about, always working to anticipate your rental needs. With great service to complement the expertise of our Account Executives, calling (877) 266-7725 or sending a message will get you the right answers, right away. If you know what you need, of course, using our Quick Rental Quote gets you in and out and on your way, fast! Call or click now!

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