August 3, 2017
Microsoft has launched a new version of Windows 10 that gives users the option of controlling the operating system with their eyes.
Dubbed ‘Eye Control,’ the new eye tracking tool works with the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C eye-tracking hardware and is aimed at those with disabilities. As part of the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16257, Eye Control is still in the testing phase.
Eye Control beta is about “empowering people with disabilities to operate an on-screen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech experience using only their eyes,” reads a Microsoft blog post. “The experience requires a compatible eye tracker, like the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, which unlocks access to the Windows operating system to be able to do the tasks one could previously accomplish with a physical mouse and keyboard.”
So far, Microsoft is supporting only the U.S. English language keyboard layout, but plans to expand to more keyboard layouts in the future.
Once Eye Control is turned on, the launchpad will appear on the screen, giving the user access to the mouse and keyboard. Users will also be able to reposition the UI to the opposite side of the screen. To interact with the UI for Eye Control, the user simply looks at the UI with their eyes until the button activates. A “visual affordance will appear around the UI” that the user is looking at.
Those testing Eye Control will be able to take advantage of text-to-speech and Eye Control shape-writing, which enables users to write words by looking at the first and last character of the word, and simply glancing at letters in between.
Microsoft is asking for feedback from early users and says it will expand compatible hardware options — such as Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini, PCEyePlus, EyeMobile Plus, and I-series — in the future.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.