Firm shows off eye-controlled laptop

Swedish outfit Tobii Technology has unveiled the world’s first eye-controlled laptop.

A prototype design developed in collaboration with Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo is being shown off at CeBIT in Hannover this week.

Lenovo built the laptop using eye-tracking technology from Tobii. The laptop is a fully-functional conceptual prototype and what Tobii calls an "important breakthrough" in its mission to bring its eye-tracking technology to consumer products.

The firm reckons using your eyes to point, select and scroll is completely intuitive and complements traditional control interfaces, such as the mouse and keyboard.

“More than anything else, the Tobii laptop prototype is proof that our eye-tracking technology is mature enough to be used in standard computer interfaces," claimed Tobii Technology CEO Henrik Eskilsson. "To reach a state where the technology is part of the average computer, we need to make it smaller and cheaper. We believe that this can be realised in a couple of years by partnering with the right manufacturer."

The first batch of eye-controlled laptops consists of 20 units split evenly between Tobii Technology and Lenovo for development and demo purposes.

“On the one hand, we have Lenovo, a great partner, representing industry-leading expertise in computer manufacturing and hardware development. Tobii, on the other hand, has the world’s leading eye tracking technology and unique expertise in eye tracking and eye control interfaces. We are very happy with the outcome of this collaboration,” Henrik Eskilsson said.

Users can just glance in the direction of an icon or gadget and more information will be presented, apparently. You can zoom pictures or maps and automatically center on the area you are looking at.

“We anticipate that people will be extremely excited to be able to control their computer with their eyes,” said Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America. “But what we find most exciting are the opportunities that eye control as part of multi-modal interfaces offer consumer electronics manufacturers in a range of product categories. We look forward to working with our partners to find many exciting ways to share and integrate this technology to advance their work.”