Firm wants pages turning in the blink of an eye

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Firm wants pages turning in the blink of an eye

A Danish company hopes to clinch deals with major mobile phone and tablet makers after developing software that enables users to control their devices by moving their eyes, it said earlier this week.

“You can use it for basic control, such as turning to the next page in an e-book, and playing games with your eyes,” chief executive and co-founder of The Eye Tribe, Sune Alstrup Johansen, told Agence France-Presse.

The software uses infrared light reflected from the pupil of the eye, which is recorded by the device’s camera, enabling users to scroll or click on their screens with their eyes.

When readers pore through an e-book and get to the bottom of the page, the software knows automatically to turn to the next page; when someone look away from the screen, it dims the screen to save power.

The Eye Tribe comprises four PhD students who founded the company a year ago. They received $800,000 in funding in August to develop the technology. The company plans to release it to other software developers early next year, Alstrup Johansen said.

“We are releasing software-developing kits to developers so they can actually start developing applications. We intend to give it away; it won’t cost anything,” he said. “We do not intend to develop all apps ourselves, we are allowing the [software] community to do this.”

He said Eye Tribe aims to get its software integrated into the hardware of big tablet producers so consumers can buy a tablet with the software and then download apps that run with the eye control technology.

It aims to earn money from licensing fees from companies producing the hardware or platforms, such as Apple, Samsung, Google or Microsoft.

Currently, cameras on mobile devices still need to be connected to a small unit with an infrared camera to work with the software, but Alstrup Johansen said next-generation devices would very likely be able to use the software directly.

“At the moment, if people want to use the software, they need an additional device that has either been added to a current smartphone or tablet, or a new hardware device that is not yet on the market,” he said.

The technology is expected to significantly change the way users play games and use apps, said John Paulin Hansen, a supervisor at the company.

“I am convinced it will radically change things. It will be a completely handsfree interaction with mobile devices,” he said, adding that disabled people would also benefit greatly.

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