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.
Yes, be honest. Have you ever gotten so frustrated at your computer that you simply had to vent by uttering a few cuss words? If you haven’t – or have made yourself believe that you haven’t – then you are actually part of the majority. According to a survey conducted by Avira, 61 per cent of computer users have not cussed or even yelled at a computing machine that is failing to cooperate. Out of 14,284 users who took the survey, only 39 per cent admitted to having “lost it” because of a malfunctioning computer.
The survey included several other questions including the following:
- 39% – Cursed or yelled at the computer out loud?
- 38% – No! I would never yell at my computer, it is too sensitive. (I friendly try to encourage it working again…)?
- 11% – Thought Wished for catastrophe to strike the company that makes your operating system software or computer?
- 9% – Hit your computer with another object (fist, baseball bat, etc.)?
- 3% – Actually thrown the computer to the ground or against a desk or other piece of furniture?
I am not really surprised about the low numbers for the last three items. After all, computers do cost money, and unless you’re totally in need of anger management therapy, you would not want to throw money out of the window. Either that or you have a huge wad of cash stowed away somewhere and you don’t care if you had to buy a new machine.
So now, really, be honest – have you ever done any of these things above? I know have at least uttered a word of frustration or two!
Multitasking is a skill that not everyone possesses, and there is even this saying that men can’t multitask if their lives depended on it. (Now that is definitely something that is up for debate nowadays.) For teenagers, though, multitasking is an inherent part of their lives. Indeed, they might suffer if they are not able to multitask.
News Hour science correspondent Miles O’Brien took a look at this phenomenon and how technology plays a crucial role. What did he find out?
Basically, I think he just confirmed what many of us already acknowledge: multitasking and technology go together. At any given time that you are online, you probably have at least five windows open. You probably have at least one instant messenger account on. Add to that Facebook, e-mail, and your mobile phone (which you check every so often).
So what’s there to talk about?
What I found pretty interesting about O’Brien’s report is the “brain science” behind it. He took a look at how the brain lights up during an MRI when one multitasks. Yes, the lights are bigger and there are more of them – the brain gets more taxed with more input. No surprise there.
The significant point is the effect of these activities on a teenager’s brain. At that stage in a person’s life, his or her brain is still developing. It continues to learn and to improve according to how it is used. O’Brien’s question is one that should be considered by everyone: are the teenagers of today benefiting from the use of technology in such a way that their brains are being hardwired to perform better?
Watch the video report below and tell me what you think.
Photo via Dangerous Intersection
Cheating (the kind that students do when taking tests) has existed for ages – perhaps the very day that man started to exist – and it seems that as time goes by, the methods used for this unscrupulous activity just gets more creative. Blame whatever you want for that, but technology does play a part.
Unsurprisingly, technology is also becoming a bane for cheaters. There is actually a company that specializes in technology that catches cheats. Caveon Test Security has been in operation for several years now and uses statistical anomalies to determine if students have been cheating. The algorithm that they use is not exactly public, but neither is it a secret.
As a matter of fact, using statistics as the basis for catching cheats is an age old trick – Caveon only makes it more advanced and accurate. The basic idea is that their algorithm checks for patterns that show up if test takers have been copying from each other (high number of the same incorrect answers). It also checks for illogical patterns such as people getting correct answers for harder questions and getting easy questions incorrectly.
It is easy to see that while those ideas do make sense, it may not be foolproof. Critics are actually pointing out that the methods used by Caveon may not be that accurate – and they may very well be right. Then again, it might be better than allowing cheating to go unchecked.
What do you think of Caveon’s premise? Is it logical or does it put too much faith in technology?
Photo via Instructables