Voice control? That's so 2010. The future of mobile computing is... well, I have no idea what it is, but Danish startup company The Eye Tribe would like you to think that it's eye tracking. And not the simple, on-off tracking demonstrated in the latest versions of Samsung's TouchWiz - their hardware can track eye movements with enough precision to replicate a finger tap or mouse cursor. Check out the video below:

Want the money shot? Skip to 3:00.

That guy is slicing fruit in Fruit Ninja with his eyes. He's like some incredible wizard who really hates oranges. The applications for browsing the web and other standard apps seems a little forced, but the idea of unlocking your screen without touching it makes at least as much sense as Google's own facial recognition solution. While the demo uses custom hardware plugged into a Galaxy Note II, it's really just a high-resolution camera with a complex software layer, which is something that could easily be integrated into upcoming devices. This combination brings a level of speed and accuracy that we haven't seen on a mobile platform.

The Eye Tribe is hoping that the eye-tracking technology demonstrated in the Gaze Suite can be integrated with existing and upcoming software on both mobile platforms and desktops. While the Android version of Gaze UI is still in an early stage, the company is already taking pre-orders for the Eye Tribe Tracker, a $99 USB 3.0 sensor bar that enables this sort of control on Windows PCs. The package includes a developer kit and SDK. Hopefully they'll have more information about the mobile equivalent soon.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK--(Marketwired - Sep 5, 2013) - Danish eye tracking company The Eye Tribe is now presenting the world's first truly affordable eye tracking device. Priced at only $99, the first version of The Eye Tribe Tracker is targeted at developers and bundled with an easy to use Software Development Kit.

The award winning company The Eye Tribe today announced their pre-order campaign for The Eye Tribe Tracker, a $99 eye tracker for Windows. This is an important step towards The Eye Tribe's goal of making eye-tracking technology available for everyone. The Eye Tribe Tracker is a small hardware device with USB 3.0 that you can plug directly into your Windows PC, laptop or tablet.

"Next generation high resolution sensors allow us to provide a great eye tracking experience that will be fully comparable to other existing eye tracking systems, but in a smaller case and at a truly affordable price," says CTO and co-founder of The Eye Tribe, Martin Tall.

Together with The Eye Tribe Tracker comes a Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows developers to easily integrate eye control into existing applications and games. It only takes a few lines of code to receive a real-time stream of on-screen gaze coordinates.

"We want all the best developers around the world to get The Eye Tribe Tracker and start developing games and applications with eye control. We expect to see whole new interaction concepts, when developers get their hands on our technology," says CEO and co-founder of The Eye Tribe, Sune Alstrup Johansen.

Initially The Eye Tribe Tracker will work for Windows only, but The Eye Tribe has already showcased their upcoming Android version, and all the core hardware components used in The Eye Tribe Tracker are suitable for integration into mobile devices.

"Soon, eye tracking will be seamlessly integrated into everyday products such as smartphones and tablets, but we want to be ahead of the curve to make sure that there are apps and games available when the technology is implemented in consumer devices," Sune Alstrup Johansen continues.

Developers should start considering how they want to utilize eye control in their games and applications. The Eye Tribe is now partnering with software and gaming companies to bring eye controlled applications and games to the consumers. First batch of The Eye Tribe Tracker starts shipping before the end of this year.

Watch the product launch video at www.theeyetribe.com.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • atlouiedog

    This doesn't seem like something I'd want as an add-on, but if it was integrated into my phone/tablet I would use it around the house when doing things that get my hands messy, like working outside, cooking, or cleaning. There have been many occasions where I wanted to scroll in a recipe or control media playback and had to rinse/wash my hands or remove my gloves first and voice control isn't always an available or well suited option.

    I can also see it being used in some games beyond just controls like slicing up fruit. In 2009 a horror game for the Wii was released called Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. In addition to using the Wii remote's motions to emulate real world movements (hello touch screens), players pointed it at the screen and looked around for camera control. Lingering your gaze on certain objects, people, or events would impact things later on in the game. Tracking your eyes could make that an even more subtle and better integrated mechanic.

    • Jeff Kang

      "but if it was integrated into my phone/tablet "

      I think hardware integration is their long-term plan.

      **Integrating an eye tracker into the hardware**

      “The Eye Tribe released its first eye-tracking product to developers in December -- a long, thin $99 module that attaches to a Windows laptop, computer or tablet. It sold out immediately and the company is now working on a second batch. But it also has a more exciting proposition in the pipeline -- a software development kit module for Android phones that it eventually wants to see integrated into the a wide range of mobile devices.

      “Most of the requisite hardware is already built into phones. The Eye Tribe just needs to persuade companies to integrate the technology.

      All that's required is a camera sensor with infrared capabilities. "What we know is that in Q4 this year, sensors are coming out that can switch between regular camera and infrared camera."”



      “OEM vendors could likely add this sensor to their handsets for just five dollars”


      If modifying the device to add eye-tracking only adds 5 dollars to the manufacturing cost, then I’m sure that at least one of the smartphone, tablet, notebook, and laptop manufacturers will make the supposedly easy camera modification.

      **Eyes + consecutively touching the same few buttons**

      On certain tasks, it might be convenient and fast to have the option of touching “single tap where I’m looking”, and “swipe up where I’m looking” (Page Down for reading) buttons. You would only need one or two buttons that are close to you (kind of like the Android Navigation Bar buttons at the bottom).

      Look, touch an easy-to-reach spot, look, and then touch the same button again. You don’t have to keep changing your hand and finger positions between each tap.

      Vertical touchscreen

      If you have a vertically propped up tablet with an external keyboard, you could remap a keyboard button to be the “tap where I’m looking” button.

      **Hands-free interaction**

      Even without the above options, I still think the ability to have a page automatically scroll down when your eyes reach the bottom of the page, or have an e-book automatically turn the page when the gaze reaches the corner of the text would be pretty good features to have. They would be especially handy for computer interaction while cooking and eating, and interacting with a vertically set up touch device that is more than an arms-length away while doing other stuff on the desktop.

  • hyperbolic

    looks painful in the long range usage.

  • Josh Rahn
  • Sebastian Kleye

    The Fruit Ninja demo was funny... but what if I look at the bomb?! :D

  • http://resbo.dk/ Søren Resbo

    I can see this being very usefull at hospitals. For handicapped people and alike.

  • kpjimmy

    If it's anything like the Leap, I'll wait this one out. I have a Leap controller, but it's not what I expected out of the box. It needs a lot of work...for work lol. For play it's fine, but for productivity, it is lacking IMO.

  • Mohammad Danish

    Can I use this? I'm Asian.