The Eye Has It

A Danish company is working to make eye-tracking technology more accessible and cheaper to the public

People with disabilities have been using eye-tracking technology to operate computers and other devices for some time, but a Danish company is working to make them more accessible and cheaper to the public.

The Eye Tribe is a device weighing less than three ounces, which allows eye control on multiple computer platforms, including Windows and OS X. Not a consumer product yet, Eye Tribe is at the 2015 International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas to work with Android developers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) clients to create new products and uses for the consumer market.

“What we’re hoping to get here is to get developers involved in creating software and using the eye tracker in mainstream products and then we can go back to the manufactures of smartphones, tablets, laptops, you name it, so we can get the technology incorporated,” says CEO and Eye Tribe co-founder Sune Alstrup Johansen. “Just like you have touchscreen in most devices today, you’ll hopefully have eye tracking in the future.”

Chosen as a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree, Eye Tribe combines eye control with existing means of control, such as touch, tilt and key press. The software is unique because it relies only on low-cost components that are easily integrated into next generation smartphones and tablets. Johansen notes they used a $5 webcam to get started. That approach allows Eye Tribe to help OEMs fast-track new products to consumers at affordable prices. Keeping the price reasonable is a key focus for Johansen, which is why Eye Tribe is being sold to developers for $99.

“The one thing about most of our competitors is that they have never managed to bring this technology to the mainstream,” says Johansen. “The reason for that is their price tag. This technology has been incredibly expensive.”

Johansen says that once the developers get a chance to work with Eye Tracker and it gets into the hands of the consumer, they’ll be able to work with computers “faster than anything they’ve done before.”


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