Using your computer with intuitive gaze technology

Photo courtesy of Tobii Technology
Photo courtesy of Tobii Technology

Technology has already simplified our lives in innumerable ways, but now Sweden-based Tobii Technology is looking to up the ante.

The company specializes in “gaze interaction,” an intuitive technology that allows users to rely not on a mouse or trackpad for computer navigation and control, but rather the eyes.

With the announcement of its newest product, Tobii REX comes a promise of a limited number of units – 5,000 to be exact – that will be available for purchase in the latter half of the year. Caution: it is only compatible with machines using Windows 8.

The product, similar in appearance to Kinect, is a bar that attaches to the computer via a USB connection. While the use of a mouse and trackpad won’t immediately become obsolete, a user can decide him or herself how much of the computer tasks are controlled by eyes.

Kinect cameras may help detect autism

There are stories of new innovative games or programs being developed daily, thanks to the release of Microsoft’s Kinect. However, at the Institute of Child Development in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this technology is being used to help detect autism.

Researchers have installed Kinect cameras in a nursery, which, when combined with specific algorithms, are trained to observe children. The cameras are able to identify children based on their clothing and size, and then compare information about how active the children are as compared to their “classmates,” highlighting those who are more or less active than the average, which could be markers for autism.

Children who show signs of interacting less socially or not possessing fully developed motor skills – indicators of autism – will then be referred to doctors who can better analyze individual cases. While the purpose is not to detect autism 100 percent, the hopes are that this program will pinpoint students who may be cause for concern and catch them early.

Additionally, the creators are working to make the program more advanced, in that it will be able to detect if a child is capable of following an object, as autistic children often have trouble making eye contact, among other things.

Already, some centers are using Kinect not to detect autism, but to help children with it learn to interact socially with others as well as better their own skills.

How else might Kintect assis in detecting or treating autism? What other medical fields might be able to use Kinect to an advantage?

Glasses are the new cool

Back in elementary school, there was something inherently unhip about kids who had to wear glasses. But now, the geeks are bringing a while new meaning to the term “four eyes.” With recent advancements in technology, it seems as though glasses are the future, as they offer access to an entirely new way of seeing things.

CEO Vision is just one of the latest innovations in the HUD (heads-up display) realm. What it is, is a management dashboard, which works with the SAP HANA database. Users wear a special pair of glasses, which, in turn, displays and interprets on-the-page reports and other business-related information in real time. The information appears in 3D and functions interactively.

CEO Vision was concocted with the help of two HD cameras, a Microsoft Kinect system, and a head display. It relies upon eye movement and facial tracking, combined with hand gestures, to quickly provide detailed information to its user. This kind of technology is known as a Spatial Operating Environment (SOE), not unlike the technology imagined a decade ago in the 2002 movie “Minority Report.”

For an example of how CEO Vision works in its early stages, check out the following video:

Augmented reality right before our eyes

Google is taking computer vision into its own hands and may soon be transferring it into yours.

The California-based Internet and software corporation recently revealed information that it is working on a new project and product, entitled Project Glass. The project is based around a pair of glasses that see, analyze and interpret the world around its wearer. It combines computer vision, eye motion, voice recognition, object recognition and more, to create something which takes every day stimuli and turns it into information that is immediately accessible.

According to an article in today’s edition of the New York Times, “the glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.”

How this will change the way people interact is a major question that people have. Additionally, many feel that our brains are already overstimulated by all the endless amounts of information available to us. Will this make things even worse? Or do these glasses have the potential to streamline the way we go about our daily lives?

ComputerVision… literally

They’re called smartphones for a reason, and beginning next year, Android cell phones will implement technology allowing users to control their devices with their eyes, giving the term ComputerVision a much more literal meaning.

The technology, developed by Senseye, is a form of ComputerVision which uses the combination of a camera, algorithms and a user’s eyes to not only sense what a user is looking at but also control and use programs and applications without the user needing to do so much as lift a finger.

The benefits of eye controls seem to be limitless. In addition to allowing users to play games on their phones, open programs, or use automatic scrolling in browsers, it could also serve useful to handicap or paralyzed individuals who don’t have function of their hands but still want to use phones or computers.

But just how far-fetched is this technology? Is it more novelty that useful? And just as the use of computers has given rise to potential problems with carpal-tunnel syndrome, could eye-controlled technology have a negative effect on vision?