By Brian Honigman
Eye-tracking technology has been around for years, most notably in use for eye-tracking software and heat mapping for website conversion optimization, but it’s never really entered the mainstream market, until now.
Tobii Technology has developed technology that allows the full control of a laptop just by the gaze of the user’s eyes.
Tobii has been a player in the eye-tracking and gaze interaction industry since 2001. In the early days, sight technology was cumbersome, preventing a user from moving when using eye-tracking software. The company eventually overcame that obstacle and has continued to innovate on the idea of remote eye-tracking in different use cases.
“It was the first true remote experience, the first eye tracker that you could actually move and walk away from,” said John Elvesjö, executive vice president and founder of Tobii, explaining the breakthrough.
It was a powerful development for many markets, especially for disabled individuals without the use of their hands, who could now use a computer in a much more effective way.
The technology has continued to evolve. For instance, the software can now gauge how well a user is paying attention and remembering online advertising, Elvesjö said.
“We can take a look at the accumulated gaze time or attention that you’re getting [on an online ad], which can also be determined by other metrics, like how long before they actually looked at your message for the first time,” he said. “Also, if a person looked at the ad, looked away and then looked back in a specific period of time, which is what we would refer to as a declaration of interest. It’s a way for us to judge some of the key characteristics of an online ad.”
The mass market use of Tobii’s technology aims to allow computer users to browse the web simply by directing their gaze using a Tobii integrated laptop or a standalone module added to your PC.
For instance, if they are scrolling through a website and their eyes focus at a specific place of the page then scrolling will stop to allow them time to read and interact with the content. The technology can also help conserve power — if any monitor isn’t being looked at, the technology will dim the screen until it is in use again.
According to Mashable, this technology, called REX, is still being developed, but once released, will be available through the USB port of any Windows-based PC. Tobii plans to also provide this technology for Apple AAPL -1.04% products in the future.
Elvesjö stressed that they aren’t eliminating the need for a keyboard but want to improve the experience of browsing, gaming, and using software like the Microsoft MSFT -1.35% Suite. He said it will also help those with special needs and empower marketers to better understand the interaction with their online ads.