Co.Design

How Eye Tracking Could Revolutionize Interaction Design

Kinect? Leap Motion? Mere toys compared with the technology by startup PredictGaze.

What if you could move a cursor on your TV with just your eyes? Or turn the page of an ebook without using your hands? These are the promises of PredictGaze, what’s basically (and somewhat allegedly) a series of ingenious algorithms by a team of garage engineers. PredictGaze can work with the lousy webcam in your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and even in low-light conditions, track your eyes and identify your face to enable all sorts of futuristic controls.

One demo shows the iPad scrolling through eye movements alone. What makes this impressive? It’s a lousy stock iPad camera. Another demo shows that, when a person walks away from the television, it automatically pauses. What makes this impressive? The software discerns between two users. (And incidentally, this same setup, running through a Macbook Pro roughly 10 feet away from the viewer, allowed the television to track eye movement with a cursor.)

No doubt, Kinect could handle eye tracking were its cameras higher resolution. And the Leap Motion has a lot of people newly enthusiastic about high-fidelity motion controls. But PredictGaze is pulling off all these stunts using stock platforms--stuff we all have in our hands, laps, and living rooms today--no special hardware required. Can you imagine the possibilities? A Kindle could bookmark the exact word you’re reading. An iPad could automagically unlock based upon your facial features alone, no matter how lousy the lighting. You could browse the web on TV by clicking links with your eyes.

To be fair, all of this potential techno-magic makes me a bit skeptical that PredictGaze can work as well as advertised. I’m by no means implying that these demos were faked, but whether or not they can be duplicated with any user in any condition with 98% accuracy is a whole other issue. Because, as we’ve all seen, technologies like voice recognition and motion control have taken decades to refine.

I reached out to PredictGaze several weeks ago but never heard back, so I can’t speak to how realized these demos are. However, if they are indeed pulling off these stunts with reliability, some big corporation should just buy the company and their software technology while it’s assumably cheap.

See more here.
Visit the company here.

[Hat tip: Core77]

[Eye Image: Morphart Creation via Shutterstock]

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4 Comments

  • PonsCreative

    I am surprised this concept did not catch on a lot earlier. Around 2006 I was working for a major player in the diet subscriptions space and we used Tobii eye tracking technology to conduct usability tests and focus groups. This is arguably the most effective way to understand how users are behaving when visiting a page.

  • Ben Hockley

    Looks awesome. Just imagine this in the hands of Facebook. They'll track the emotions on your face when you're reading certain posts. Then serve you ads based on that! Or imagine an insurance form or something, the user looks confused so bring up a help bubble. The paper clip is back! Those with botox won't get help. :-(