Stephen Hawking has his custom-made computer setup that the “normal” person may only dream of creating, but thanks to Tobii Technology, ordinary people who have physical disabilities will have the chance to control their own computers using their eyes. Tobii is a big player in the realm of eye tracking and eye control technology and is based in Stockholm. The company has partnered up with Lenovo, which is the world’s fourth largest personal computer manufacturer, to come up with laptops that can be controlled using eye movements.
Stop and think for a minute. When you use your laptop, don’t you use your eyes before you even move that cursor with your mouse or trackpad? This is the premise of eye control – it is intuitive and everyone does it! Now, for the average person, having to use the mouse or trackpad may not be a big deal. But for someone who does not have full use of his hands, for example, being able to use his eyes to point, select, and scroll makes a world of difference!
According to Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of Tobii Technology, ((Tobii)) “…the Tobii laptop prototype is proof that our eye tracking technology is mature enough to be used in standard computer interfaces. To reach a state where the technology is part of the average computer, we need to make it smaller and cheaper. We believe that this can be realized in a couple of years by partnering with the right manufacturer.”
Obviously, the laptops are still in demo mode. There are only 20 units as of now, and they are being used to showcase what the technology can do. Still, this does seem to mean that we will be seeing these laptops in the market in the near future. Here’s a video showing the laptop in action.