In a recent article, Computerworld reports that Stanford University computer scientists have developed a new way to interact with our computers. The EyePoint system uses both eye-tracking technology and keyboard hot keys to reduce our dependency on the mouse while surfing on Internet. The system is so intuitive to use that the lead researcher said that 'several users have reported that it often felt like the system was reading their mind.' With this addition of keyboard interaction, eye tracking might become a standard computer interface within the next five years, at least according to the researchers.
EyePoint has been developed by the Human Computer Interface Group at Stanford University for its Gaze-enhanced User Interface Design (GUIDe) research project. Manu Kumar, a doctoral candidate in computer science, was the principal researcher for this project, but was advised by Terry Winograd, a professor of computer science. As you can see above, "to use EyePoint, the user simply looks at the target on the screen and presses a hotkey for the desired action - single click, double click, right click, mouse over, or start click-and-drag. EyePoint displays a magnified view of the region the user was looking at. The user looks at the target again in the magnified view and releases the hotkey. (Credit: Manu Kumar and Terry Winograd, Stanford University)
The short Computerworld article gives additional explanations. "While looking at a screen, the user presses a hot key on the keyboard, magnifying the area being viewed. The user then looks at the link within the enlarged area and releases the hot key, thereby activating the link."
The EyePoint system is only one component of GUIDe project. Other components include EyeExpos (for gaze-based application switching), EyeScroll (which allows users to scroll with their eyes) or EyePassword (for gaze-based password/pin entry).
The researchers have published many papers about this project. Here are three papers I recommend if you're interested by the subject.
- EyePoint: Practical Pointing and Selection Using Gaze and Keyboard presented at the 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in San Jose, CA (PDF format, 10 pages, 1.45 MB)
- Reducing Shoulder-surfing by Using Gaze-based Password-entry presented during the 2007 Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security in Pittsburgh (PDF format, 7 pages, 3.32 MB)
- GUIDe: Gaze-enhanced UI Design (PDF format, 6 pages, 267 KB) [Note: the illustration above has been extracted from this document.]
Sources: Drew Robb, Computerworld, August 20, 2007; and various websites
You'll find related stories by following the links below.