Another hands-free computer interface is on its way and this time it's your eyes that will have to do the work.
A team of German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering are working on the Eye-Controlled Interaction system , a way to control a computer just by staring at it the right way.
The system is designed for use primarily for "disabled people, or professionals such as maintenance technicians or chefs, who need both hands free to carry out their work".
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Eye-tracking systems for interface control of computers have been tricky until now thanks to the high levels of false positive generated by the human gaze. But the research team have used psychological know-how to refine their system by phasing out the minute random movements of the eye and laying out interface pages in a more user-friendly fashion.
Dr Fabian Hermann, a usability engineer on the project, said that by using a "statistical average filter" to account for the jerky involuntary motions, the software can track eye movements much more smoothly. Further, on-screen buttons will change colour twice to ensure that the selection is exactly what the user meant.
Hermann also said that he foresees the day when by just looking at your stereo or a light panel, you could turn it on or off. "You could even control a kitchen display showing recipes or other information when your hands are busy or covered in ingredients," he added. Anna Lagerkvist