Rumor: Galaxy S4 to introduce eye-tracking that will autoscroll text as you read

eye-tracking-slimAccording to the latest rumor, Samsung is enhancing the Smart Stay feature seen on the Galaxy S3 for the release of the Galaxy S4, as it’ll introduce a sister feature dubbed eye scrolling on its new flagship phone. The report comes from an anonymous source speaking to the New York Times, who explains the system will automatically scroll a page of text down when it sees you’ve almost reached the bottom.

For those unfamiliar with the Galaxy S3’s feature list, Smart Stay uses the forward-facing webcam to watch you while you’re using the phone, then stops the screen from dimming and going to sleep provided it sees you looking at the screen. It works surprisingly well, and is helpful for reading any wall of text, whether it’s a long email, online article, or eBook.

Eye scrolling is a natural progression of this, as the camera will not only ensure the screen stays alive, but also keep an eye (sorry) on the position of your pupils as you read. The NY Times noted a Samsung filed a patent for a similar feature named Eye Scroll earlier this year, which senses eye movements and scrolls the display accordingly. Eye tracking technology has been hanging around the fringes of both the e-reading and computing scenes for a while, but mainly in concept form. Take a look at Text 2.0, a project from a German research team utilizing Tobii Technology’s eye tracker system to great effect back in 2010, to get an idea of where it could go in the future.

Samsung introduced a variety of interesting software features with the Galaxy S3, using them to differentiate the new phone from the competition instead of concentrating on the technical specifications. It’s likely to do the same with the Galaxy S4, with the Times’ source saying, “The new software features of the new phone outweigh the importance of the hardware.” Although we won’t find out until it’s launched, this statement fits in with the rumor the Galaxy S4 will use another quad-core processor like its predecessor, instead of Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa eight-core chip.

The Eye Scroll feature hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung, but it does at least sound plausible. We’ll find out whether it’s coming to the Galaxy S4 on March 14, and you can take a look at the first teaser video from the firm here, just in case you’re not excited about the new phone enough already.

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