Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

So when do we start doing eyeball tracking?

And I don't mean "how many people have read this page?" -- I'm musing about, literally, when we're going to have our computers start really paying attention to the user's eyes.

I was thinking about that as I was proofing my last entry. When I wanted to change a word, I exited proofing mode, used the mouse to go to the right position, backspaced over the word, and used the keyboard to re-enter it. But what I really wanted was to simply say, "strike 'fill' and replace it with 'feel'", and have the computer know which word I was talking about.

I'm sure it's *possible* -- it just requires combining good speech-sensitive editing capabilities with a camera sensitive enough to track the user's eye movements, and well-enough aligned with the screen to serve as a pointer. (I envision an alignment UI sort of like the one you get when you boot a Palm PDA -- "Look at this dot. Now look at this dot.") Not easy, but I suspect it's feasible with current high-end technology, and ought to become more straightforward as camera tech improves.

The mouse is a nice tool, and good for precision work, but a hassle to use most of the time -- you have to stop whatever you're doing with your hands to use it. Geeks use keyboard shortcuts instead, but I suspect that we're going to see the emergence of alternatives better-suited to mass use. Minority Report style virtual displays are one approach (especially if you think the keyboard itself will go away), but eye tracking seems to have a lot of potential for very intuitively doing what you want...
Tags: technology

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