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Tobii shows off eye-controlled Lenovo laptop

Image used with permission by copyright holder

And you thought Kinect was mind-blowing. Swedish company Tobii Technology is showing off a laptop at the CeBIT conference in Germany that is controlled by nothing more than your eyeballs. The laptop uses two infrared lights and an extremely sophisticated optical sensor as well as algorithms to determine precisely where on a screen users are looking – and it works for those wearing glasses, too. The technology will allow you to scroll through a website, play a game, and select applications. Users can also vary the brightness of the display and switch between different windows.

The demo was shown on a Lenovo laptop running Windows, two big names in the PC world. But don’t let popular brands get you too excited about owning such software: According to execs with Tobii, the consumer market isn’t a current priority. “The consumer market is still in the future, but it’s something we’re looking into,” Hyléen told the Wall Street Journal. Tobii and Lenovo both could not stress enough that the device is strictly a prototype, and that any sort of mass production is roughly two years away. And for the moment, Tobii is content with this patented technology being used for research, including testing young children for autism.

Still, by all accounts pouring out from CeBIT, the system works remarkably well and is incredibly accurate. Unlike Kinect, which uses a motion-sensing camera, Tobii’s program works by using a bar at the bottom of the computer screen that reads eye movement. For the moment, this makes the computer about twice as thick as your average laptop, and slimming down the hardware is just one of the adjustments to be made before it reaches consumers.

Two years seems like a cruel wait for this type of technology. We thought Kinect was the closest a gamer could get to using The Force, but this could certainly give it some competition. Motion-sensor technology and gaming are a natural fit, and we can only imagine the innovation the can come out of this software.

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Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
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