Computing

I Just Controlled Windows 8 With My Eyes And It Made Me Believe In Technology Again

Windows 8 has a gorgeous Metro and finger-friendly swipe interface that’s perfectly fine but so 2011. All I want in my life in 2012 is Tobii, a company that’s made the future possible: you control Windows 8 with your eyes. Seriously, it knows exactly what you’re looking at when you’re looking at it. It’s instantaneous, it’s amazing, and I haven’t been this excited about technology.

When I first saw Tobii, I didn’t believe it would work well. You just look at it? And it does whatever you want? And that’s how you control Windows 8? And… that’s it? Yes! That’s why it’s so amazing. It’s as natural as seeing, as normal as looking at somebody when you talk.

Tobii’s eye-control device, which looks like a horizontal rectangle glass obelisk attached to the hinge of the laptop, is incredibly accurate. The system requires a personal calibration test before you use it and some unique finger movements (akin to a smartphone), but once you get settled in, it’s simply stunning. It’s sniper accurate, Tobii never missed my target by more than a few pixels. It’s lightning quick, I couldn’t even say my next move fast enough, because Tobii had recognised my eyesight already glanced away. And it can control all the swipe gestures available in Windows 8.

There was also an option to play an Asteroids-like game with Tobii, and everything that’s impressive about Tobii translates there too. The head movement tracking aspect of the game was a little odd, but I can’t get over how accurate its eye-tracking ability was. Look and zap. Look and zap.

Tobii is as amazing as multitouch once was, as impressive as the Wii once was and the Kinect is now, and a natural evolution of “the future”. I felt like I was using fairy tale tech in a generation defining sci-fi movie, rather than sitting in a plastic chair next to smelly people in a hall riddled with crappy gadgets that have no reason to exist. I don’t know how successful Tobii will be in the mainstream market but it’s this kind of technology that reminds me why I loved technology in the first place.