Tobii’s eye-tracking tech could be what frees us from keyboards and mice, but what if your eyeballs could replace your remote control too? Haier, of all companies, is trying to make it happen. It’s almost superhuman.
Haier’s interface is a wreck, but the basic idea here is a lot of fun: you touch nothing. You don’t move. You don’t speak. There aren’t any gestures or commands whatsoever, like with every other idiotic smart TV hail mary — you just look at what you want to do. If you rest your gaze on, say, a video thumbnail, and then blink, that video will open. If you look at the bottom of the screen, you’ll get volume controls. Presumably channel surfing would work the same way.
OK, the problems are obvious: what if more than one person is watching TV? What if my face gets tired from deliberately blinking so much? It did. Will it be annoying to have to look away from the centre of the screen when you’re watching TV? Does that defeat the whole point of watching TV? Or undermine it?
At the very least, the tech works: even without calibrating the Tobii eye-scanner, my pupils were able to activate buttons and sliders across Haier’s set with zero learning curve. It’s hard to get more intuitive than looking. Your thoughts make the screen change. That’s cool.