Eye-control add-on for Windows 8 launched

A controller developed for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS uses eye-tracking to control the cursor, and blinking to substitute for a mouse-click.

Windows 8 is based on the concept of tiles, rather than wondows, and is optimized for touch control. But Tobii Technology claims that a user’s hands can get in the way, and thinks it has a better solution.

The company’s Gaze uses a webcam-style add-on that plugs into the PC via a USB port. It uses a combination of eye gaze and touch pad to enable all the touch commands of Windows 8 – activate, select, zoom, scroll and the like.

It uses eye tracking technology for pointing, while the touch pad is used for giving commands and fine-tuning when necessary. Users can scroll through an email by ‘swiping’ their gaze upwards, click by blinking and double-click by staring.

“Pointing at something by looking at it is intuitive, natural and immediate. Using a mouse to do the same thing is less so, as it involves an intermediate step of moving a mouse-pointer around,” says Henrik Eskilsson, CEO and co-founder of Tobii.

“Gaze is as natural and intuitive as touch, as precise as the mouse and more ergonomic and effortless than both. Once you have experienced Gaze, a laptop without it feels just as ancient as a laptop without a touch pad.”

The company plans to show off the device at CES next week. There’s a video of it in action, below.