World’s first eye-controlled TV unveiled

Chinese multinational consumer electronics-maker Haier unveiled world’s first-ever eye-controlled television set tagged Gaze TV, at last week’s IFA trade show in Berlin. The set uses eye-tracking technology developed by Swedish firm Tobii.

To control the set, users have to activate a user-interface by staring at the top or bottom of the screen. The user can afterwards switch through channels, enhance volume or execute other functions by staring at the icons on display.

The new technology although still at the prototype stage, and tho’ vulnerable to anomalies, can offer an alternative to the traditional remote-controlled TV sets. Tobii remarks it expects to launch its first consumer-focused product by 2013.

Smart TVs currently in existence are also known to offer voice controls and hand gestures that can be staged as substitutes to the remote controls.

The chief part of Tobii’s technology is not built into the TV set itself at the juncture; a sensor is attached to sit in-between the screen monitoring the person’s eye movements and the viewer, writes the BBC.

By tracking the user’s eye movements, including the gazes and the blinks, he is able to zoom, point, scroll, navigate features and menus and select.

The technology has to be calibrated, however, to each user before use. It is also reviewed to be less accurate if the person controlling it wears glasses.

The Tobii Gaze Interaction software development kit is available to firms looking to explore the possibility of gaze interaction and who can use the revolutionary technology to come up with gaze applications that could influence of the future of consumer electronics and computing, according to Tobii’s chief executive Henrik Eskilsson.

Tobii is renowned for having developed products that help the disabled people to control computing devices. The company’s software and sensors at the moment cost thousands of dollars to purchase, thus hindering widespread adoption.

Over the recent months however, the company has showcased a number of concept designs for gaze-controlled car information system, video games and surgery-room-image display screens.

Computer-maker Lenovo earlier this year also partnered with Tobii to create a concept laptop, Eye-Controlled Laptop, with the gaze technology, which allows users to scroll through texts of a document hence keeping pace with the user as he gazes through the document.

Eye-tracking software that comes along with the laptop can as well help a users to put hislaptop into sleep mode. The software can in addition be tweaked further to execute a number of other functions, The Savvy Chick reported. However, only twenty such laptop prototypes were created by the company for demo purposes.

Haier is forging a reputation for displaying futuristic concept designs. The China-based firm launched an entirely wireless” TV, at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

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