Windows fans silently snickered when it was revealed that Apple might introduce features like face unlock and double tap to wake on the next iPhone. Now they might have yet another reason to feel they’re at the forefront of computing innovation. Microsoft and Tobii have revealed that they are collaborating on giving Windows 10 some built-in eye tracking capabilities, which would allow users to guide or even control their Windows PCs using only their eyes, as if they were psychic.
Eye tracking isn’t actually but, like facial recognition in the past, the technology was bordered more on the experimental and benefited only a relative few. Tobii, in particular, is an expert in eye tracking and eye control devices but its products have mostly been used either for people with disabilities or for research, be it academic research, marketing research, or even gaming research.
Eye Control, which is Microsoft’s name for this new Windows 10 feature, will be bringing that very same technology to the masses, so to speak. By making it a built-in component of Windows 10, any PC, with the right hardware, will be controllable using only eye movements.
Of course, that is going to be a huge benefit for people with physical handicaps, as it makes the technology more readily accessible compared to purchasing or using sophisticated, specialized machines. It also means that they will be able to use the computers and the software that we use, with no need for modification.
Those with (near) perfect physical capabilities need not be jealous of this psychic-like capability. Eye Control actually makes the user experience easier and richer by combining eye tracking and traditional input methods. The Aspire V 17 Nitro, for example, uses the same touch pad gestures and keyboard combinations to click, scroll, or switch between software, but it also uses the user’s eyes to determine which programs to control.
Of course, just because Windows 10 will support it doesn’t mean that all Windows 10 PCs will magically get it. Eye Control will still require special hardware, like Tobii’s Eye Tracker 4C gaming eye tracker, to function. However, The two companies are already working with OEMs like Acer, Dell/Alienware, and MSI for products that will ship with the technology out of the box.