Microsoft is bringing eye-tracking technology to Windows 10 with a feature called Eye Control. It’s already a feature built into the latest Windows 10 Insider Builds. Currently, it only works with Tobii’s Eye Tracker 4C (currently used with certain video games) but Microsoft is looking to add support to similar devices on the market in the future.
The Eye Control feature will allow Windows 10 users the ability to navigate the operating system just by glancing around on the screen. It provides the ability to control an onscreen mouse and keyboard as well as text-to-speech with a glance. The eye-gazing technology uses a camera on a laptop or PC monitor to track where a user is looking. You can launch apps, type text, and perform other common tasks within the OS.
Eye Control was originally developed as part of a Microsoft Hackathon back in 2014 as a way to assist people with ALS to steer and maneuver a wheelchair by using eye movement. When a research team from Microsoft discovered the technology, they saw the potential for eye tracking. More recently Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella returned to a one-week Hackathon to share inspiring projects and announced Windows 10 will provide built-in eye tracking support through the Accessibility Options.
At the time of this writing Eye Control is still in beta phase and if you are a Windows Insider you can test it out (provided you have the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C or similar supported device). It will obviously take some time for more devices with similar technology to reach the market, but when they do, it will make Windows 10 more accessible for a larger number of users. For people who need it, gamers, and developers looking for unique ways to implement this new technology into their apps.
What’s your take on this latest announcement about Windows 10? Do you see the potential for other types of systems or applications this technology can be used with? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.