Danes invest US$4.4 million in eye-control system for tablets, smartphones

The first commercial products are expected to arrive within a year

Danish company The Eye Tribe is leading a new project that will make it possible to control smartphones and tablets using eye movements.

The three-year project is called "Eye Tracking for mobile devices" and toy maker Lego Systems is taking part, along with game developer Serious Games Interactive, the IT University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark.

The Eye Tribe was founded last year by four former PhD students from the IT University of Copenhagen, all of which had previously been working on various forms of eye tracking research and applications.

"We are coming from a desktop environment, using it on PCs and we have a laptop version, as well. What we want to do now is go for the mobile space, because the potential is huge," company CEO Sune Alstrup Johansen said.

Users will be able to scroll down Web pages, zoom in to view a location on a map more closely or play games without having to touch the screen. The Eye Tribe has implemented a version of the game Fruit Ninja where fruits are sliced when a player looks at them.

"These are some of the very basic things we can do, but, of course, we are aiming to do much more in the future and that is what the project will help us achieve," Alstrup Johansen said.

The technology uses an infrared light source and a camera to register eye movements.

Implementing eye tracking on tablets and smartphones is much more challenging compared to PCs, because users are outside and on the move, according to Alstrup Johansen. Tablets will be the first step because of the bigger form factor and smartphones will come next, he said.

The growing size of high-end smartphones should work to its advantage.

Even if there are challenges, Alstrup Johansen expects to see the first commercial products within a year, potentially both smartphones and tablets.

"We have already done experiments on tablets and have a prototype to demonstrate that it works. Now we need to make the technology even more robust, and more tolerant to different scenarios including outdoor use," Alstrup Johansen said.

The project will also work on a smart glasses implementation, which will allow users to look at an object and get more information.

The "Eye Tracking for mobile devices" project's 25 million Danish kroner (US$4.4 million) comes from the participants and the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation, which uses government money to "offer private companies and universities the funds and the framework for developing new and important technologies," according to its website.

The Eye Tribe's current technology is a promising beginning and the foundation now hopes its funds will be used to accelerate the development of it, according to Thomas Bjerre, communications manager and head of analysis.

The project is expected to start in about 60 days, Bjerre said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonestabletshardware systemsconsumer electronicslegoDanish National Advanced Technology FoundationThe Eye TribeIT University of CopenhagenTechnical University of Denmark

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?