Coming in 2013: Control Your Phone with your Eyes

December 8, 2011

11:30 am

It’s not mind control, but new technology out of Denmark comes close: Senseye is working on eye tracking software that lets your eyes control your phone.

The software uses your smartphone or tablet camera to detect where you’re looking on a page. Based on that, you can scroll, click on icons, and play games – say, by glaring at enemy ships. The screen lights up when you look at it and dims when you look away, and someday you could even use an eye gesture to unlock your phone. (See a demonstration here.)

Senseye has a range of possible applications, including helping the disabled. For now, the Copenhagen-based company is working on an Android product that plugs into a mini USB port to enable eye tracking. They hope that app developers will get creative in applying the technology, and plan to release an SDK. But the full launch of Senseye, integrated into devices – they can’t disclose which – is tentatively planned for 2013.

Senseye’s entire team has a background in vision tracking. CEO Sune Alstrup Johansen founded Eyefact, which does eye tracking for market research; and other members helped create an open-source eye tracker called the ITU Gaze Tracker. Senseye won the best demonstration award at Startup Weekend Mobile Copenhagen in June.

As they continue refining the software, it will be crucial to see whether eye control is faster than hand control and how often Senseye misunderstands commands. For example, the time you need to look at an icon before it registers a click has to be short enough that you’re not staring and waiting, and long enough that an idle glance doesn’t count.

Would you buy a device with eye control?

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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