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Eye-controlled television unveiled

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Gaze TV looks to the future

A television that can be controlled using the human eye has been unveiled at Berlin’s IFA trade show.

The prototype, created by Chinese electronics company Haier and Swedish technology firm Tobii, is called Gaze TV, and works by tracking the movements of the eyes, which allows the user to perform standard functions such as volume control and channel changing.

They can do this by staring at the bottom of the screen, which brings up a menu in much the same way as television remote controls do now. They can then select the icon that they want by altering the direction of their gaze and blinking.

It is thought this invention may compete with other up-and-coming alternatives to hand-held remote controls, such as voice commands or hand signals. However, as yet none of these ideas have been developed successfully enough to consider putting them on the market.

Eye-control could spread to other functions

This concept was originally developed by Tobii with the aim of assisting disabled people with operating computers. There are plans for similar designs that would allow menu screens to be brought up using the eyes in places such as hospitals and cars, while the technology is unsurprisingly also being considered for video games.

However, at present the high cost of the equipment means it is not a viable commercial option. That said, Tobii hopes to have one of these eye-controlled products on the market by 2013, although whether this will be Gaze TV or not remains to be seen. If it is, the device could potentially be a strong competitor for recently released sets such as Google TV.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: “We’ve all endured the frustration of losing the remote, so a television you can control with your eyes will certainly appeal to many people. If they can iron out the glitches and create a more affordable product, there’s no reason why this idea shouldn’t take off.”

Written by James Riches

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