Eye Tracking Technology – Watching Where You Look
Many of us unrepentant technophiles were probably awed by Tony Stark’s dynamic touch-screen control of his entire laboratory in the movie Iron Man, and dreamily wondered about the efficiency and speed with which we could work if we had something like that.
Well; dream is poised to become reality, and reality may be even better than the dream. A Swedish company named Tobii is actively pioneering its so-called “Gaze” interaction technology, which will enable you to bid your computer mouse goodbye, and control your desktop and all the elements on it with a glance. The next evolution in touch-screen mechanics, Gaze enables zooming in and out, and centering elements of interest – all completely hands-free! The advanced eye-tracking easily notices when you are focusing on an area in particular, and can provide real-time updates in response to your interest. Imagine staring at a pair of shoes for just an instant longer than anything else, and getting information on availability, nearest store and time to get there. How about gazing at the time in the lower right-hand corner of your laptop and having the date and reminder of plans phase into view above it? It’s easy to imagine that just a few years after the debut of Tobii’s Gaze tech, keyboards, themselves, may no longer be necessary.
If all this seems too error-prone, just consider your search engine results pages for reference. Nothing on there is random; Google spent a decade developing eye-tracking technology in their usability labs to manufacture those crisply-rendered options that show up when you type whatever you want to find in the search box. Heat maps show where the average user looks, most often, and for how long; the template for the technology has been all-but-perfected, and the handicapped and disabled have been using eye-control for years. In a few short years, websites may no longer even be recognizable, as advertisers, web designers and widgets battle for the crucial field-of-view. The world at your fingertips? Nothing so pedestrian; try the world – with the blink of an eye.