Microsoft corporation, the software bellwether behind the near monopolistic PC OS (Windows) has just introduced an innovative and new feature as an update to their Windows operating system. This new upgrade is going to allow people to utilize and work on a personal computer using just their eyes and no other body parts like hands or mouth or even the toes of the feet.
Microsoft has collaborated with Tobii (the Swedish high technology manufacturer of the eye and facial movement detectors). It’s being called the Eye Control by Microsoft to be bundled along with the next windows 10 upgrade to be rolled out soon.
This feature has been extensively developed to help people with medical conditions or suffering from neuromuscular diseases such as ALS to control and work on a PC or laptop just like a physically sound person would. The feature enables one to work without a mouse and a keyboard, primarily using one’s eyes and even facial muscle movements. The advancement will prove out to be a great help to such people.
Source of the Tech attribute!!
The technology powering the Eye Control feature has been derived from the SGD (speech generating device). The NFL player Steve Gleason used SGD, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, and since then has been using the speech generating device to go about doing quite a few routine things. He goes about reading emails, sending emails, talking to his son, showing him videos all using the SGD.
The Stated Possibilities of the feature
One using the Eye Control feature will be able to select apps, to be launched, just by gazing at them. Moreover, they can use an on-screen keyboard and type out a message by gazing over the letters that need to be typed and even operate an on-screen mouse just by the eye control.
To utilize this eye tracking feature, one would have to additionally go out and procure hardware like the Tobii 4C Eye Tracker. The other Tobii devices which will be supported in the coming future includes the Tobii Dynavox PCEye mini, Tobii Dynavox PCEye plus, the Tobii EyeMobile Plus and even the i series.
The feature is presently, in the beta testing phase, so any interested participant will have to sign up onto Microsoft’s Windows Insider program to get on board and access it.
The Release Date
Microsoft has not confirmed the dates for release due to the beta testing phase being on. This idea triggered during the 1st Microsoft Hackathon in 2014 and lead to a separate research team to investigate possibilities of usage. Satya Nadella CEO fully supported the project which led to the go-ahead for integration into windows directly.
This isn’t the 1st time that Microsoft is using technology to make things easier for the physically challenged. With work already in progress for a March release for windows, we expect the eye control feature to be out sometime next year.