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World's First Eye-controlled Laptop Presented At CeBIT 2011

Computer manufacturer Lenovo has partnered with Swedish startup Tobii Technology to launch the world's first eye controlled laptop which will be on display as from today at CeBIT in Hannover.

The prototype is a fully functional model and according to the manufacturer provides with a more intuitive interface as it relies on the human eyes to point, select and scroll and complements, rather than replace, existing control interfaces.

Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of Tobii Technology, says that it is only a matter of years before the technology becomes an integral part of the average computer as the tracking technology is mature enough and only needs to be miniaturised and mass produced to cut down on price.

Only 20 eye controlled laptops have been produced for demonstration and development purposes; one of the more obvious applications of the laptop would be help people with special needs.

Others include the capability to zoom pictures or maps and automatically centre on the area you wish to look at; glance at an icon or widget to bring up more information.

In addition, the screen's brightness can be auto dimmed and brightened as it recognised the user's eyes, in order to save power.

Tobii's technology relies on 13 patent families that cover aspects such as sensor technology, illumination methods, data transfer mechanisms and eye control interaction techniques.

Amongst them is what it calls a physiological 3D model of each individual's eyes which it calls TrueEye, something that could be used for biometric applications.

Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America, hinted at future collaborations saying that "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".

These could include more intuitive user interfaces for smartphones and mobile devices as well as gaming applications (integration with accessories like the Kinect for example).