There is a lot of talk these days about controlling your tablet and computer with voice or gesture control, but what if you could control and navigate your tablet with your eyes? That sort of technology probably seems very futuristic, but it’s available now, and Tobii EyeMobile is about to bring that technology to the masses. Eye-controlled Access lets you control a device with eye tracking and gaze interaction. And Tobii’s new EyeMobile accessory is specifically designed to work with most Windows 8 tablets, including the likes of the popular Surface and other tablets like the Dell Latitude 10. That means those Windows 8 touch gestures have all been mapped to different eye movements, that includes the basics (swiping, tapping, scrolling) which are all there.
Tobii’s technology was original developed to assist people with disabilities who can’t operate a computer with traditional means, but its actual potential goes beyond even that. In any case, EyeMobile takes the company’s previous Tobii PCEye Go, their compact eye tracker, and adds it to a mounting bracket. The mounting bracket serves not just to attach the eye tracker to the tablet, but is built to be mounted on wheelchairs for those with demobilizing conditions, like paralysis, ALS, or cerebral palsy. Another benefit of Gaze is that those whose conditions impair their ability to speak can also use the Tobii EyeMobile for a secondary communications outlet, in addition to any other system they might already have.
We recently tried EyeMobile out for ourselves and were blown away with how easy it is to learn to adjust to using your Windows 8 device with eye control. Like magic, within 5 minutes we were navigating Windows 8 with just our eyes. And with practice, users can adjust to the gaze interaction and be able to perform tasks faster and more efficiently. Look Ma, no hands – or voice required. Tobii’s technology even makes the experience fun.
Overall, this is pretty cool (and incredibly advanced) stuff, and it effectively opens up the world of tablet computing to a whole section of the population that could never enjoy it before. The Tobii EyeMobile should be available soon on Tobii’s online store or Amazon. Unfortunately, pricing for EyeMobile will not be cheap, at nearly $4k a pop, but this is actually a significant price drop over the previous generation device.