Swedish company enables eye-tracking for Windows apps




Posted on May 20, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 9:25 AM

People wear glasses to help their eyes focus.

Coming soon: glasses that focus on your eyes - and what they're looking at.

They're called Tobii Glasses 2, and the Swedish company that makes them, Tobii, claims to be the world leader in eye-tracking. The glasses, released Tuesday, are just one example of its technology. Tobii has also released a software development kit for Windows applications, so soon you may be able to simply look at an icon on your PC to interact with it.

First the glasses: Weighing in at a sleek 45 grams, Tobii Glasses 2 have four tiny wireless cameras that can give researchers a live, real-time peek at what its wearers are looking at. Those cameras and wide-angle lenses increase the peripheral vision that can be tracked.

A lot of companies value the kind of data that the Tobii Glasses 2 could uncover; heat maps that highlight how your eyes travel over certain products in stores or certain TV shows. That information could impact marketing and programming.

Think Google Glass is pricey at $1500? Tobii Glasses 2 will set you back $15,000, so it truly is just for researchers and academia.

But as mentioned before, the glasses are just one way that Tobii is pioneering eye-tracking technology.

A video from the company shows other potential uses for its EyeX product that is something right out of "Minority Report." This time it's the eyes being tracked by a sensor bar on a personal computer.

Tobii also wants to come up with new ways for people to interact with all kinds of devices. Imagine using your eyes to check email, open web browsers, or log in to banking apps using retinal scans for better security. The company uses a combination of light, sensors, processors and software to make all that happen.

Tobii recently released a software development kit and sensor bar for developers who want to use this technology to write for mainstream Windows applications and for PC gaming.

So maybe soon, you'll be able to stare at Office or Outlook icons on your PC screen to open them up, check email or work on Excel spreadsheets.

Tobii says it will also license the Glasses 2 platform to developers so that other companies could use it in their own wearable technology.