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CeBIT 2011 | Tobii and Lenovo working on eye-controlled laptop

Prototype seen on display at CeBIT 2011; tracks eye movement via infra-red cameras

As if the latest string of hand-controlled devices (Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move) weren’t futuristic enough, it appears the next step is controlling all the devices you need with a roll of your eyeballs. Tobii Technology, which specializes in eye tracking and eye control, was seen showing off an eye-controlled laptop at the CeBIT conference in Germany.

The laptop, which has been produced in collaboration with Lenovo, works by shining infra-red lights at the user eyes and tracking their reflection. As a result, the laptop is capable of predicting where and what the user is looking at and acting accordingly. In a review of the demonstration, Engadget’s Chris Ziegler, reported the technology had “pinpoint precision” and “we never felt like we were "staring" to make something happen”. Part of the demonstration included opening windows, a quick-bar that pops up when looking beyond the left side of the screen, and a game where objects are destroyed by simply looking at them.

Unfortunately, the technology is still in its early stages and will require some time before it can be market capable. Not to mention, the device itself is rather bulky and is more of an add-on than a built in technology. According to Tobii Technology CEO, Henrik Eskilsson, in order to reduce the size of the device and integrate it with laptops it’ll take a couple years of development. However, the technology should open many doors and we can see it making its way to television sets and other gadgets soon enough.


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Omar Qudsi, 2011-03- 2 (Update: 2012-05-26)