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Eye-tracking tech: The Eye Tribe shows off its $99 hands-free tracker for tablets

Danish tech firm The Eye Tribe has been showing off its eye-tracking device at this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt Europe event in Berlin.

Announced earlier this year, the tracker’s technology means you can hold your tablet in one hand and a pizza or sticky cake in the other while your eyes take care of the swiping and tapping.

The device, which costs just $99, comprises a small box with a USB 3.0 connector that you plug directly into a Windows PC, laptop, or tablet. A custom mount for Microsoft’s Surface tablets is already available. Android and iOS versions are also in the works and should be ready in the first half of next year.

According to The Eye Tribe’s website, the tracker uses “infrared illumination to create a pattern of reflections, which are used in our mathematical models to determine the point of gaze.”

The technology works fine in a range of environments and can be used for device control such as “aiming in games, eye activated login or hands-free typing,” as well as hands-free navigation of websites and apps.

The Eye Tribe's eye tracker.

The Eye Tribe’s eye tracker.

The team has been taking pre-orders for The Eye Tribe Tracker since early September. Bundling it with a software development kit (SDK), the start-up is aiming it initially at developers as it seeks to explore the device’s potential.

The SDK allows developers to apply eye-tracking functionality into existing applications and games. According to The Eye Tribe, it only takes a few lines of code to set the whole thing up.

“We want all the best developers around the world to get The Eye Tribe Tracker and start developing games and applications with eye control,” Eye Tribe CEO and co-founder Sune Alstrup Johansen said in a release.

Eye-tracking technology has, of course, been around for a while, though improvements in precision and reliability mean more companies are starting to look at ways of using it.

Similar to The Eye Tribe’s tracker, Sweden-based Tobii is working on the EyeMobile, though at $3900 it currently costs considerably more than The Eye Tribe’s offering.

According to TechCrunch, The Eye Tribe is currently in talks with an electronics manufacturer to launch its own tablet with the eye-tracking hardware fully integrated, while it also hopes in the future to license the technology to makers of mobile devices for integration into their products.

[Main image: Sergiy Telesh / Shutterstock]

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