I Just Controlled A Computer With My Eyeballs And It Was Amazing

We checked out Tobii last year, and it was pretty rough around the edges — just a prototype. But now the eye-control tech wizards at Tobii are back with a polished product, and I feel like I'm in Star Trek.

It's still not perfect, but once Tobii's new USB eye-scanning peripheral calibrated itself with my peepers, I was able to select whatever I looked at onscreen just by pressing the delete key. It made navigating Windows 8's interface rainbow faster than touch — just look at what you want to open, select, read, whatever — your retinas will always be faster than your fingers. It made it genuinely fun. It made it sci-fi.

But zooming through a map is the absolute best: no matter where you look, the Tobii will navigate on the fly. Starting from a view of North America in its entirety, I was able to sweep down through the east coast, zooming straight down to Gizmodo HQ as I got my visual bearings. Not only is Tobii accurate, it's fast — we were told the sensor, which mixed traditional imaging with near-field infrared scanning. This was crucial for something like maps, where a split-second change in what you're looking at matters.

Tobii is already partnering with companies like Lenovo to bake this tech directly into laptops and tablets. For now, developers (and soon, us consumers) will be able to buy the USB stick to use on our existing rigs.

The sooner the better. There's nothing that feels like this, and even though it requires some keyboard taps to trigger, an interface that uses only your vision feels like something nearer to telepathy than anything I've encountered with tech before. Something has to make the keyboard and mouse combo obsolete, and a mix of eye-tracking and voice-recognition might just do it.



    This is interesting, but combined with voice-recognition to eliminate the keyboard? get real, my PC is in the lounge how could I possibly use voice recognition with out disturbing the rest of the family, at work we have 3 work stations along side each other plus phones on each desk, the noise from 3 people speaking to their pc's? and the security issues it would cause when on phone calls?
    And that is without the inaccuracy of the recognition which would require a keyboard to correct, if your voice is like mine you will be pushing to achieve consistent accuracy even after training.

      What a party pooper.. Bad day? Every input device has good and bad use-case scenarios. I like the idea of eye control for UI navigation, but not for content creation.. that's fine. It looks like it would work particularly well with Metro on the whole. I also don't see voice as a primary input, but it could be useful as part of a broader set of input options. Try to be a bit more rational.

      I agree with @OCD, perhaps you should think more outside of your proverbial 'box' - I'm picturing this tech having HUGE implications for disabled and wheelchair bound people that don't have full control of their arms, but A) have eyes, and B) a voice. You could provide a level of independance that some have not had either for a long time, or ever before in their life!

      I prefer to use voice recognition when writing essays! as it gets them done a heck of a lot faster!
      Then just go through and fix the few mistakes after .
      Even writing long text messages, simply hit the voice button, and wham right there to send, almost no errors, everytime!
      I don't find it so bad, but oh well that's my opinion.

    For ages it's been obvious that our eyes are pretty much optimum pointing devices, if only a machine could understand where exactly we're looking. Now it looks like the tech is coming to the mainstream sooner rather than later, which. Is. Awesome.

    I'm imagining having voice-rec on, being able to click my tongue or snap my fingers to represent a click while pointing with my eyes. Not so good for creation or productivity, but a good compliment to existing controls. As I type a document, use a spreadsheet or work on a database, I can keep both hands on the keyboard and just look at controls (with, say, ctrl+space as "click", or if I'm not in the office I could just make a click sound) to use them.

    I like this tech and combined with leap motion tech it has real promise, I can see specific use for speech recognition but the article states "Something has to make the keyboard and mouse combo obsolete, and a mix of eye-tracking and voice-recognition might just do it." It is not going to happen as speech is only viable in specific situations, and if your voice is like mine not even then :)
    I like playing with all the latest input devices etc, and I think this combined with leap may just work for consumption and I will be trying them out, but the keyboard is still the king for real work.

    Controlled a computer with your eyeballs and it was amazing, eh?
    Would you say it was... AMAZEBALLS?

    Last edited 09/01/13 5:33 pm

    Why do you keep saying that you controlled it just with your eyes, no you didn't, you also clicked a key on a keyboard...

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