UPDATED 23:13 EDT / AUGUST 01 2017


Next Windows 10 release will offer support for futuristic eye tracking

In something out of a Philip K. Dick-inspired movie, Microsoft Corp. is adding eye tracking to the next release of its Windows 10 operating system.

Designed in conjunction with Swedish startup Tobii AB, the new eye tracking feature allows people with disabilities to control a computer with their eyes, complete with the ability to move a pointer on the screen and click on the software. The feature, called the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, uses “eye gaze” technology that taps into a camera on a computer to track where the person sitting in front of it is looking on the screen, moving the cursor to that location. Using a number of gestures such as blinking in a pattern, a user then can interact further with what they see on the screen.

“With eye tracking, devices can better understand our intentions, a key ability in creating truly natural human-computer interaction,” Tobii President Oscar Werner President said in a media release. “Eye tracking support in Windows 10 has the potential to form a new paradigm that fundamentally transforms how we interact with our devices.”

While the addition of native support in Windows sounds great, because it is, it should be noted that for now, device support for eye tracking is fairly limited. A standard webcam simply doesn’t work with the technology, so to use the feature, standalone hardware or a laptop that specifically supports the tech is required. Tobii itself sells a number of eye tracking devices, and a range of laptops from Acer, MSI and Alienware come with the technology built in.

“Adding native eye tracking support to Windows 10 is a key milestone in our mission to make this technology part of our everyday devices,” Tobii Chief Executive Officer Henrik Eskilsson said. “Through integration with Microsoft’s operating system, it becomes possible over time to realize robust eye tracking implementations that add a range of user benefits. This collaboration clearly shows the value of eye gaze input and is a big step forward on the long-term journey to drive high-volume adoption of eye tracking.”

Image: Tobii

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