Scroll With Your Eyeballs
With the onslaught of wearables like Google Glass and smart watches that do everything a smartphone can, the future is starting to look like a place of little to no required movement. Degrees of reaching, grabbing, and holding seem to be the first things to go when new designs of anticipated tech products are rolled out. Since motion detection capabilities have already reached the mainstream for a lot of industries, the obvious next advancement would be less motion and an increasingly simplistic way of interacting with our products. But what's simpler than waving your arm at a lamp? Keeping your hands in your pockets and staring, of course.
How Eye-Tracking Technology Is Being Used Today
Eye-tracking technology, most commonly used as an assistive technology for those with disabilities in its early stages, is slowly being implemented in gadgets for the masses. Tobii Technology has been producing prototypes of eye-tracking PCs since 2011 and was behind Samsung's Galaxy S IV's Smart Scroll and Smart Pause facial recognition, released last spring. Additionally, taking a picture with a wink is a rumored private feature for Google Glass. "Right now, there's no way to control Glass that's acceptable in a large group of people[...] You can't use voice commends, or pull out your phone. Eye tracking, though, that's a use-case scenario and may be an interesting alternative," Brandon White, Google Glass developer told cnet.com.
Umoove, a startup founded in 2010, believes that there's more to eye tracking than just an "interesting alternative." Using a front-facing camera,Umoove has developed both face and eye-tracking technology to create unique ways for users to interact with their devices. What's truly groundbreaking about this young startup is the fact that it's not hoarding its software, but offering it to anyone who wants itincluding big name device makers and software developers.
The Way Of The Future?
With this kind of technology becoming more readily available, it's likely we could be seeing more and more eye-tracking technology creep into our store aisles and shopping websites. For consumers, the interest is obvious: our culture is constantly looking for the current best thing to take on new qualities, to be made new again through shiny upgrades and advanced improvements. On the other side of the spectrum,businesses and companies are also benefiting from these developments. Companies like EyeQuant are using eye-tracking technology to gage the interest of an increasingly online consumer demographic. They flip the use of visual recognition developments to track areas on a website page that are most likely to hold the gaze of a visitor.
While advancements in eye-tracking definitely carry a glimmering wow-factor, whether or not the demand is sustainable for such a complicated new tool is still uncertain. Now that we know that this kind of technology is possible, the next question is when (or if) we're ever going to see face and visual recognition features take center stage in the development of our devices.