In the classic TV show Airwolf, helipcopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke only had to look at his quarry to target it, thanks to magical 1980s TV technology in his helmet. Stanford researchers have gone one better with the latest entry in the annals of hypothetically awesome pointing devices: an eye-tracking system accurate enough to put a mouse pointer on the exact pixel you happen to be looking at.
“Eye-tracking technology was developed for disabled users,” doctoral student Manu Kumar in quoted in Technology Review’s story. “But the work that we’re doing here is trying to get it to a point where it becomes more useful for able-bodied users.” He says that nondisabled users tend to have a higher standard for easy-to-use interfaces, and previously, eye-tracking technology that disabled people use hasn’t appealed to them.
Kumar wrote software that compensates for the injerent jitteriness of the pupil, and which still involves confirming and contextualizing the eye-pointer’s movements with keyboard shortcuts. One fascinating tidbit from the story is that eye-tracking technology was invented a century ago: researchers would reflect light off the back of subjects’ eyes to accurately see what part of photographics they were focusing on.
Article by Rob Beschizza (Wired)