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What Will Apple Do With Swedish Eye-Tracking Technology?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-just-the-usual dept.

Input Devices 170

andylim writes "An article on recombu.com explores the possibility that Apple is gearing up to launch eye-tracking technology soon. Citing a patent filed in 2008 that mentions 'gaze vectors' and a recent purchase of units from a Swedish eye-tracking company, the author suggests that the inclusion of eye-tracking tech in the company's forthcoming tablet would be Jobs's magnum opus. 'What better flourish to a career that began with the popularization of windows, icons, mouse and pointer than to usurp them all?'"

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the Eye-pod? (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756088)

Too soon?

Re:the Eye-pod? (2, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756124)

Too soon?

iConcur

Re:the Eye-pod? (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756348)

They will add the iBall interface to iLife.

Re:the Eye-pod? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756852)

I seem to have trouble tracking eyes on swedish women.

My eyes are up here!

Re:the Eye-pod? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756258)

Eye-tracking tech could be incorporated in places where you want to see what people really are looking at.

I imagine that the "nature film" industry would be interested to figure out how to maximize their outcome.

Re:the Eye-pod? (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756726)

These worthless wastes of life [quividi.com] are already busy applying the idea to advertising. Who wouldn't want a billboard watching them?

Re:the Eye-pod? (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30758460)

Who wouldn't want a billboard watching them?

Creepy stuff for sure. OTOH if we all stubbornly refuse ever to look at them, we could make 'em disappear. Not that that would happen in a world where people respond to spam.

Re:the Eye-pod? (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756538)

Not only too soon but too expensive.

Tobii (the Swedish company in question) has products that start at $7500 bucks per unit.
http://www.tobii.com/corporate/eye_tracking/our_technology.aspx [tobii.com]

Further, all of their devices require custom installations.
http://www.tobii.com/market_research_usability/products_services/eye_tracking_hardware/tobii_x120_eye_tracker.aspx [tobii.com]

Although they claim it works with eyeglasses in the real world that does not work due to the narrow range of tints and prescriptions that can be handled.

Shall we buy these gadgets at Eye-Kea? (3, Funny)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756594)

Eye-eye, sir!

Swedish Eye-Tracking (3, Funny)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756092)

I'm not Swedish. Am I immune to this technology?

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756334)

Eye tracking has been used for useability studies for quite some time. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/ [useit.com]

don't woosh me, bro...

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (0, Offtopic)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756508)

How is a woman like a computer? You can't appreciate one until it goes down on you.

How is a working computer system like an erect penis? It stays up as long as you don't fuck with it.

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30758260)

Whoosh!

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756362)

But are your eyes Swedish? Any Swedish ancestors at all?

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756492)

I have been tracking Swedish eyes for a while now, and other body parts of their female volleyball team.

Re:Swedish Eye-Tracking (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756542)

No, it actually only works on you.

Obligatory joke (0, Offtopic)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756104)

I can see how Apple's marketing department would be interested in "gays tracking".

Re:Obligatory joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756338)

I can see how Apple's marketing department would be interested in "gays tracking".

Jobs is countering this. By using technology that has been extensively trained using Swedish men, Apple plans to reward users when their eyes follow hot women's blonde volleyball team members.

[posting anonymously because this is worth only one or two funny mods... the thought of hot blondes impairs my thinking and I can't find how to make it +5 Funny]

Re:Obligatory joke (1, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756406)

Have a sense of humor, mods. That's a decent pun playing off the Apple trolls.

Re:Obligatory joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756522)

Or you wrote it and you're STILL the only person that thought it funny.

Give me my computer glasses? (3, Insightful)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756170)

Not sure if this technology would apply to it but I've always wanted a computer with main unit, say the size of a cell phone, wired to a set of LCD glasses (preferably transparent so you could see whats going on around you while using it). Then you could navigate with voice commands, gestures and eye movements.

Though with multi-touch coming these days you could have multiple mouse icons and use eye movement and mouse movement on the same computer or instead eliminate the mouse and never have to take your hands off the keyboard to navigate (yes some of us use computers for more than porn).

Just my $0.02

Re:Give me my computer glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756356)

No to the glasses idea. That concept has always seemed to be the "dream" but think about practicality. People can't even drive straight while TALKING on a cell phone. Just the internal "mind's eye" shifting attention is a problem. Can you imagine when there's VISIBLE distractions going on on a set of "computer glasses"?? Not to mention the difficulty some of us have on focusing on a screen that close.

Re:Give me my computer glasses? (2, Insightful)

bnenning (58349) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756584)

People can't even drive straight while TALKING on a cell phone.

Certainly you wouldn't use it while driving, and even walking might take some practice. But if you're not moving, having the display on glasses is a huge improvement over both laptops and phone displays.

Not to mention the difficulty some of us have on focusing on a screen that close.

Nobody can, but my understanding is that they can create an image that appears clearly even though you aren't directly focused on it.

Re:Give me my computer glasses? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757074)

Certainly you wouldn't use it while driving,

But of course people would.

Re:Give me my computer glasses? (2, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757128)

wired to a set of LCD glasses

Are you still young enough to focus on things less than an inch from your eye? I suggest that you actually try it. You'll probably be surprised that you can't. This technology would have been here a decade ago if there was a mass market for it. There isn't.

I don't think he gets it (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756188)

'What better flourish to a career that began with the popularisation of windows, icons, mouse and pointer than to usurp them all?'"

Eye tracking technology doesn't usurp ANY of that. If anything, eyetracking technology makes windows and icons more useful, since those are designed to hold your attention for the short span that you need them.

And don't think that this technology would ever replace the mouse. You need a mouse for gaming, amongst many things. One such annoying technology around today is rollover ads. Our eyes often make tiny glances at colours and items that grab our attention.

Point is, they aren't changing the existing system, merely adding onto it.

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756296)

And don't think that this technology would ever replace the mouse. You need a mouse for gaming, amongst many things

But touch screens are, in some markets. And aren't there better input devices for gaming? Accelerometers work pretty well for some things.

Re:I don't think he gets it (2, Funny)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756434)

No, no they don't. Accelerometers don't work well for anything gaming related.

Re:I don't think he gets it (4, Insightful)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756804)

Nintendo might beg to differ...

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756364)

'One such annoying technology around today is rollover ads. Our eyes often make tiny glances at colours and items that grab our attention.

Maybe they plan to take AdSense to the next level. You can now set ad billing based on how long someone is actually looking at an ad.

Re:I don't think he gets it (2, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756382)

And don't think that this technology would ever replace the mouse.

You never played Doom did you? I believe the quote was that no one would use a mouse because using the keyboard is so much better. Games adapt to the input devices available to them, and the mouse, at some point will be history. Don't say never. It's never true. :-)

Re:I don't think he gets it (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756610)

I don't disagree the mouse will disappear, just that Eye-tracking won't be the thing to do it. I believe Multi-touch will be, go google some of Jeff Hans videos (or look it up on TED.com) and you will see some amazing applicatons he's made with Touch Screens, or even sophistaced smart boards and projection techniques using relatively affordable hardware.

I just watched this [ted.com] and I agree - even the keyboard will probably be phased out once accurate Touch screen technology gets better amongst the big players. The great thing about all of Jeff Hans' items is that they are Open Source, if I put the money down for the hardware* I can duplicate EVERYTHING he demos, even contribute to his projects.

I might fire off an email and just ask him if he has any research going on with Eye tracking technology, and if he does, how much it would cost to set something like that up.

I think ultimately by the time I reach 80, some of the tech in Minority Report should be existant. We will have cool interfaces that change with multiple inputs from the user. And that Ads can essentially read my retinas from far away, and annoy the hell out of me.

*In fact, the first video of his that I saw he was demoing how a Wiimote and an Infra red Diode (Approximately 50 dollars) could produce a smart board (several hundred dollars). I am still considering doing this with just to play around with it.

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757472)

I think ultimately by the time I reach 80, some of the tech in Minority Report should be existant.

Hell, most of it is here now. Unless you're in your 70s, I'd expect it to be obsolete by the time you're 80.

Re:I don't think he gets it (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757892)

Those screens are great, but they depend on having an IR camera pointed at the whole back of the screen, which means that they aren't getting thin very fast.

I just had a terrible thought... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756550)

They're going to have flashy, blinkey, animated ads that follow your eye movements, making sure you can't take your eyes off of them without looking away from the screen.

I hope the make it so you can shut the eye tracking down. As to the mouse, I can see an eye-controlled cursor in the future. I, for one, would be happy to have the mouse replaced; I get "mouse elbow" if I'm at the computer too long.

Re:I just had a terrible thought... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756694)

Yes but the mouse does offer some things that an eye-controlled cursor would not, for example, if I'm playing Duke Nukem Forever and I want to be able to turn left (usually just moving my mouse left) WHILE looking at my health (bottom right of the screen).

But I could easily see a look and blink interface replacing the mouse for simple things like Web Browsing. But if I'm working on a spreadsheet, I need to be able to objectively look at the entire entire table. If I want to highlight the entire table, I don't want to have to look at the top left cell, blink, look at the bottom right. I may not be entirely sure I have the entire section I want, or I might have too much, depending on the scenario.

There are just too many little situations where you aren't actually looking where you're clicking.

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756646)

Point is, they aren't changing the existing system, merely adding onto it.

Exactly, if nothing else this becomes an accessibility option for people who can't use traditional devices. There are numerous conditions that would prevent people from using a mouse and/or keyboard, where accurate useable eyetracking could help out a lot. As a father of two boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, anything that can help them remain interactive longer is great.

2 meanings of "eye tracking" (1)

radianity (1700216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756668)

You can track where the eyes are looking (i.e. the intersection of the eye gaze direction with the surface of the screen), but this typically involves a lot of calibration, and often more than one camera, just to make it reliable. Even if it's reliable, it's horrible to use - they have these on display at conventions all the time, and they're generally used for checking if advertising works. The other is to track the position of eyes in an image and a rough direction of where they're looking. You can then use this information to augment the image captured from the camera to make it look like the eyes are looking at the camera (when in fact they were looking at the screen, as in video-conferencing). I suspect this would be the more likely technology to make it into a tablet/laptop.

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

babyrat (314371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757706)

You need a mouse for gaming, amongst many things.

Because obviously there are no games that don't require a mouse.

Re:I don't think he gets it (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757798)

*Roll my eyes*

(Pun intended)

Re:I don't think he gets it (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757878)

Point is, they aren't changing the existing system, merely adding onto it.

Right, I think I've posted here before wishing for a system that allows you to switch window focus with eye tracking - especially useful in a multi-monitor setup (I always get hosed up with that).

But $7500 gear isn't the way to do this. Stereo cheap-ass CMOS 'webcam' sensors on the sides of the monitor and a whole bunch of GPU number crunching should do the work just fine (and also get us video conferencing where you can look at the 'center' of the screen (through still more processing) without really having to put any cameras into the screen.

Cheap hardware + massive image processing seems to be winning nearly every fight.

Glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756202)

I can't imagine this technology working well with glasses.

Re:Glasses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756414)


I can't imagine this technology working well with glasses.

That's right, none of the designers, developers, programmers, etc. of this wear glasses. Woe to the billions of glass wearers stuck to mice and keyboards!

Two words: (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756204)

Bikini Team.

Not Apple-like (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756206)

I don't really think that Apple will use eye tracking... yet. Why? Because there aren't enough existing products out there. The vast majority of Apple's products show up when there are 1 or 2 other early products out there that Apple can improve on. Eye-tracking isn't used in any major way yet and so I don't think Apple will use it quite yet.

Re:Not Apple-like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756424)

Then the original McIntosh was also "not Apple-like" (1st mouse outside Xerox labs, first computer sold with GUI interface, etc.).

That has never stopped them (2, Informative)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757046)

The iPhone has multi-gesture apps because Apple first came to the broad market with such a device. People will build software to what hardware manufacturers make popular, ont the other way around.

Re:That has never stopped them (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30758330)

Yes, Apple may be first in the broad market, but there has been multi-touch for a very long time in many electronics, but generally it faded out by the start of the '90s. On the other hand, eye tracking isn't used hardly at all, in anything. Basically, Apple revived dead technology (Captive touchscreens and multi-touch) to make their phone.

Another innovation of course (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756226)

Having invented the home computer, the mouse, the GUI, the portable music player, the multitouch screen, the Unix kernel and the mobile telephone, Apple now invents eye tracking. Pay no attention to those Swedish guys in the corner and put your hands together for yet another amazing Apple innovation, personally created by Steve Jobs, the smartest man in the world. Thank you Steve!! I love you!! Please, take some more of my money.

Advt (0, Redundant)

narsiman (67024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756230)

Left to Google, you would have a subtle ad show up around the point of vision on your browser.
Microsoft - sorry i cant think evil today.
Yahoo would just keep the patent on a shelf and implement some unwanted feature three years after the patent expires.
Apple - i just dont know but I know that i will love it !!

Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (4, Interesting)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756248)

There are two main problems with eye tracking. First, your eyes are always moving. Second, they’re attracted to motion.

Eye tracking, done correctly, would have to avoid both of these pitfalls. It would be possible, but tricky. It would have to differentiate between the constant motion of your eyes and deliberate motions that you wanted to make, or at least not be adversely affected by all of their unconscious movements. It would also need to avoid causing movement or changes on the screen that would draw your attention away from what you intended to look at.

For instance, if a normal cursor was displayed at the detected position of your gaze, it would (A) obscure, (B) distract, and (C) float irritatingly away from your gaze if its positioning was even slightly miscalibrated.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756404)

And then try clicking on an icon with just your eyes. Do you just stare at it harder? Wink your left eye? I'm sure the actual implementation of an eyes-only input would not just try to replace a mouse cursor with gaze positioning, but it's already difficult enough to just track eye position for this sort of application, let alone figure out intent.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

pheonix7117 (1439515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757358)

While this is not a probable long-term solution to clicking with your eyes, the EyeWriter [eyewriter.org] software is one approach. Video describing the drawing software itself: http://vimeo.com/7321287 [vimeo.com]

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (2, Interesting)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756444)

This is very true - however our eye gaze is also attracted to things we find interesting. An interface that had that information could easily rearrange itself based upon where we were looking. For example, you could imagine a 4 by 4 grid, each cell linked to some app or document. the size of each cell would be in proportion to the time spent gazing at it... and as cell size increases different components/layers of information for each cell becomes visible. I'm sure the people of Apple could come up with something a little more tasty than that example, it's just an idea.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756600)

the size of each cell would be in proportion to the time spent gazing at it... and as cell size increases different components/layers of information for each cell becomes visible

So basically, a glorified Dock (zoom the focus)...

or the Ribbon (drill-down the selection)...

Although in theory that sounds neat and useful, in practice it might just end up being annoying. It’s hard to say. It hasn’t really been a highlight of either the Dock or the Ribbon.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (2, Funny)

querist (97166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756604)

To respond to your second point, and to agree with it...

SQUIRREL!

(If you don't get it, see the movie "Up!")

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756728)

Where?!

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756862)

"Clicking" could be done by blinking twice, or blinking slowly.

Calibration could be fine-tuned on-the-fly by assuming the user is looking at the center of buttons or links he's "clicking" (for ones with large hit areas, it could skip adjustment). I wouldn't be surprised if this idea were patented already, given that it's obvious.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757078)

I wouldn't be surprised if this idea were patented already, given that it's obvious.

Given that it’s obvious, it can’t be patented... not that this would stop anyone.

Even so, the concept of the mouse pointer would have to be completely rethought. Anything opaque would be in the way, and anything transparent would gradually fade away [ggpht.com] ... a pulsating glow might work, but there would be a fine line between noticeable and annoying.

Just see it off by a little bit... (2, Funny)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757008)

I can imagine how the pointer moving ever so slightly away from where you are looking causes you to try to move your focus to where the cursor now is causing a cascading effect of chasing the cursor that is just out of focus and moving. It will eventually cause us all to have spastic eye movements constantly circling the page. That will be fun!

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30757420)

Couple the data with electroencephalography (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroencephalography) and use trend/pattern matching to determine if the movement was done intentionally. The hard part is making EEG electrodes cutesy enough to 1) warrant the price and 2) convince the consumer they want to wear them.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30757870)

Wink to click. When Microsoft copies this, it'll be left wink, right wink for context menus, and wink both eyes for BSOD.

Re:Eye-tracking is a tricky subject (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757934)

It would be possible, but tricky.

Maybe they could hire back some of the control hysteresis experts they fired from the ATG group before writing OSX. System 7 really got these things right.

Why not autofocus applications (2, Interesting)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756350)

It always seemed to me that the greatest benefit of tracking the position / geometry of a user's eyes would be for determining their focal point. The user will look at your information directly if it's needed, but if it was always in focus they will be less fatigued by constantly changing focal points. In handheld devices this would allow you to glance at your phone by bringing into your field of view without having to take your focus off the road / sidewalk. Refining the technology enough that people could use computers at work without having to have corrective lenses on / in would do wonders.

You know what I've always wanted? (4, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756354)

I hate it when I look at a field and start typing only to find out that something else has focus. This happens to me in every GUI I've ever used and if a webcam with gaze vectoring can fix that I'd really like it.

Re:You know what I've always wanted? (1)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756558)

I don't see how it would fix that (for most anyway) when if anything it's more likely to mess up as your eyes end up distracted elsewhere, anyone that can touch type won't necessarily be staring at the box as they type, and anyone that can't will be staring at the keys.

Re:You know what I've always wanted? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756946)

Yes but you'll stare at the text box when you start typing the first character into it, to be sure the cursor is blinking there. Once you're typing, it could suspend gaze-initiated focus changes until you stop typing for a bit.

Re:You know what I've always wanted? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756566)

Yeah, clearly something stole the focus and changed your font to retarded.

Re:You know what I've always wanted? (1)

AnotherShep (599837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756848)

Wow. This has to be the best AC post that I've ever seen.
Mind if I steal this and use it elsewhere on the site?

What they will do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756388)

They'll get rid of the track pad and you'll use your eyes to point at stuff on the screen. It will be intense.

The answer is obvious, really... (4, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756394)

I mean, what else would you do with Swedish Eye-Tracking technology? Track Swedish Eyes, obviously...

this is really scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756592)

if they're tracking Swedish eyes, it won't be long until privacy advocates have to go get non-Swedish eyes from some skeevy drunk "doctor" like Tom Cruise had to in "The Minority Report".

augmented reality? (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756422)

If they eye tracking tech interoperats with the built-in web camera so the device sees what you see (not just want part of the device screen you are looking at) this could be used to delivery data about whatever your are seeing. It could also be used to deliver targeted advertising.

apple + tablet + eye tracking = !(kindle) (2, Interesting)

dijjnn (227302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756442)

They're going to build an ebook reader app for their rumored tablet to kill the kindle & dominate the market. as Ramanujan once said for a famous one line proof, "Behold."

Videoconferencing (4, Insightful)

Dracker (1323355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756504)

One of the big challenges in videoconferencing is the illusion that the subject, who is looking at your face on the screen, appears as if he or she isn't making eye contact with you, as the camera is not located in the middle of the screen. While this may seem minor at first glance (ha ha), it's actually a pretty important issue in videoconferencing, with significant demand for software that corrects it.

A "gaze vector" is exactly the kind of information software would need to "correct" the illusion, to make it seem like the subject does have eye contact. I bet Apple is going to incorporate eye contact correction tech for videoconferencing in its products.

Hardware solution patented too...by Apple (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756800)

There was a story some time ago about Apple patenting small, "hidden" in the screen cameras as a means of correcting eye contact issue that exists currently in videoconferences.

Which really strikes me as another example of why patent system is badly broken in the US. Even I toyed some time ago with an idea of using small sensor / optical arrangement that minimizes size of the "camera", visible obstruction, so it can be placed in front of the screen without being too irritating. Hiding it between the pixels of LCD screen, when you have good enough manufacturing, seems to be just...a straightforward progression.

Didn't work for Tiger Woods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756540)

Oh wait, you said Swedish Eye-Tracking Technology? I thought you said Swedish Eye-Candy Technology.

Never mind.

In my opinion, it can mean only one thing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756574)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autostereoscopy [wikipedia.org]

The webcam already on top of most apple products will be used to track the eye of the user and adjust the display accordingly.

MacOS 3D anybody?

Accessibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756596)

Tablet with built-in iSight camera + OS supported eye-tracking = accessible computing/media/network tool for people with little or no manual abilities. If it actually uses the iSight and not a head-mounted tracker, that's a large benefit in terms of ease of use & maintenance.

Hm. Their eyetrackers are not that good. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756624)

Full disclosure: I am a vision researcher who has worked with most of the available eyetracking systems on the market.

I had not heard of the company, and a quick look at their product line tells me why not: their standalone systems are limited to 60hz/120hz depending on the model - this was good several years ago, but has been considerably eclipsed by other companies' designs (e.g. S-R Research's Eyelink hardware, which happily does 2000hz monocular tracking). It looks on par with ASL's Eye-trac gear, which has similar limitations.

I would bet that Apple just bought a few of their systems to use in internal testing - I sincerely doubt that anyone there is using such slow gear for major research.

Here's to white men... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756682)

The research lab I work at bought a Tobii system recently. During our pilot gaze study we discovered it had a strong tendency to only track white men. In fact, it only worked on white men. Our theory goes, white men were the individuals programming and testing the unit.

Canon A2E/EOS 5 (1)

e1618978 (598967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756688)

Canon had eye tracking in their A2E Film SLR camera 18 years ago - how is this different? Would the A2E count as prior art?

Irritating technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756758)

I had a Canon Elan with eye tracking. Worst camera I ever owned. The problem with it was my eye wouldn't be lined up the same each time I used the camera so it was always off. I found myself trying to reposition my whole head to line it up for focusing. What a joke. I'm sure it's better after all these years but it's likely to be far more trouble than it's worth and little more than a gimmick at best.

I guess you could say it would be... (2, Funny)

HForN (1095499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756768)

An eye for an i.

At last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756782)

Maybe this technology can be used to let me finally catch up with those little floaty things in my eyes that keep getting away every time I try to look at them.

Learn your computing history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30756806)

'What better flourish to a career that began with the popularisation of windows, icons, mouse and pointer than to usurp them all?'

So we're to assume from this that Steve Jobs (and by extension Apple, the company he co-founded) didn't do anything worth speaking of before the Lisa?

insensitive clods! (2, Insightful)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756856)

I have a lazy eye =(

Re:insensitive clods! (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757148)

well, I'm sure the person with a lame hand will find it a boon.

Get that pointer out of the way!! (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30756966)

Will be the shout of everyone trying to read a document and having the cursor automatically and constantly position itself right in the center of your vision. You be begging for the mouse to get that out of your way.

Aggro phone? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757152)

What the fuck are YOU looking at?

Damn! Steve Jobs marketing tactic seems to. . . (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757174)

So these days, in order for Steve Jobs to to market effectively, he needs to. . .

1. Sit down and really think before jumping.
2. Repackage old technology with sensible user interfaces and thus change the world.
3. Do nothing new for a few years.
4. Announce nothing.
5. Let the world speculate with wet-dream anticipation until it infects even a decidedly biased anti-Mac forum like Slashdot.
6. Do nothing.
7. Do more nothing.
8. Release some more old technology with a sensible user interface and make everybody orgasm. Again.
9. And yes, Profit.

The man is either brilliant or the rest of us are just really slow.

And while I admire Jobs for being able to see, I can't stand Apple stuff. It's all designed for pod people. The part I can't reconcile is that he sees that people really ARE from pods and rather than swim against that tide, instead makes baby toys and rakes in the 'Wow'.

-FL

Re:Damn! Steve Jobs marketing tactic seems to. . . (1)

Alzdran (950149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757368)

Maybe if your definition of pod-people means non-technologists, or even technologists who stick within a realm of expertise.

The "sensible user interface" of your post is what allows people to see what the technology can do; those people who don't have the time and/or inclination to spend so much time with technology that could be made to do something cool if you first (a) figured out what that is and (b) made it a reality.

What took phones so long? If the iPhone simply represents a "sensible user interface" (and you'll not get an argument to the contrary from me), that means that older phones simply represented insensible user interfaces. Would not having figured out how to do conference calling from an older cell phone make you a pod person?

I'm not playing down invention. Invention is vital, and more fundamental than popularization. For some technologies, popularization is unnecessary - their domain is limited. However, where appropriate, popularization is incredibly important. Enabling the average person to use new capabilities is what Jobs sells, and it is valuable.

Re:Damn! Steve Jobs marketing tactic seems to. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30757492)

He doesn't make things for pod-people, he makes them for programmers who are sick and tired of crappy user interfaces. Even Tivo, which is the best DVR by far, is a crap product compared to most of the things Apple makes. I am constantly thinking to myself "why did anyone make something like this, I could do way better" when I use non-Apple products. I think that the software designers at Scientifica Atlantica, for example, need to kill themselves out of shame. They make products that are an embarrassment to our entire profession. At least if the DVRs that they make for Time Warner are any indication of things.

Re:Damn! Steve Jobs marketing tactic seems to. . . (1)

spatley (191233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757954)

Really? do you consider iTunes to be a non-crappy user interface?

A Better Auto-scroll... (1)

ShinyBrowncoat (692095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757770)

With eye-tracking, you can do away with the painful auto-scrolling on mobile/PDA eBook reader software and just have the page advance when (or a few seconds after) your eye gets to the last line of the page...

This interface will make me disabled. (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757842)

I have nystagmus [wikipedia.org] , which means that my eyes constantly wiggle though I perceive an unmoving image. I bet that an onscreen pointer calculated by my gaze vector would be in constant motion and therefore unusable or at least very difficult for me.

I say this not in complaint, merely in observation. I'm sure this won't be adopted in the near future, and who knows if it will catch on once it's developed? But as someone who never before had to concern himself with being physically able to access things, it is an interesting shift in perspective.

Here's hoping that mice or touch will remain supported for the new disabled =)

it's too soon, BUT (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757856)

eye-tracking linked with auto scrolling would be nice. as well as zooming (which would finally rid us of this multi-touch nonsense!)


Just that a. Apple doesn't really know how to do it right (they may have an idea, but will fail), and the hardware is still not there...

enables dynamic high resolution (1)

markjhood2003 (779923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30757994)

Humans are only able to perceive fine detail directly along the gaze vector: peripheral vision is mostly restricted to general shapes, colors, and motion. So a rendering system, like a FPS game, that tracked the gaze vector could determine where in the 3D scene a user's gaze was directed, and render the geometry and textures enclosed by the cone centered around that vector to a very fine degree of precision while leaving the rest of the scene very coarse. The user would perceive that high degree of detail everywhere as the eye scans the display frame by frame while the system is actually rendering many fewer polygons and pixels.

3D? (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30758408)

Wouldn't it be possible to make 3D Images with eye-tracking technology.
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