London: The prototype of an eye-controlled television, which uses a sensor placed on a table in front of the user to track their eye movements, has been unveiled at Berlin’s IFA trade show.
Haier’s Gaze TV uses technology developed by Tobii, a Swedish firm which already offers eye-tracking technology for computers.
Users control the set by staring at the top or bottom of the screen to activate a user-interface.
The users can then change the volume, switch channel or carry out other functions by looking at icons shown on the display.
Even though the technology is still at prototype stage and prone to glitches, it has the potential to offer an alternative to the traditional remote control.
Existing smart TV’s also offer hand gesture and voice controls as alternatives, but the functions can be hit-and-miss in real-world use.
The key part of Tobii’s technology is not built into the television set itself at this stage, instead an attached sensor sits in-between the viewer and screen monitoring the person’s eye movements.
By tracking the shift in gaze and blinks given, it allows the user to point, zoom, scroll, select and navigate menus and features.
The device has to be adjusted according to each user before use and becomes less accurate if they are wearing glasses.
Its developers think it has the potential to offer a more natural way to control TVs and other devices, and are hoping to partner with more manufacturers.
“The free Tobii Gaze Interaction software development kit is available to companies interested in exploring the possibilities of gaze interaction and using this revolutionary technology to develop gaze applications that will take part in the future of computing and consumer electronics,” the BBC quoted Tobii’s chief executive Henrik Eskilsson as saying.