Doug Engelbart, prepare to be usurped by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering
. Yes, the folks that brought you the MP3 and the Multimedia Dome
are now working on the Eye-Controlled Interaction system -- a way to control a computer GUI just by staring at it the right way, possibly rendering the mouse a quaint invention of 20th century computing. Hyperbole aside, the mouse is probably safe for now, given that the EYCIN is mainly designed to be used by "disabled people, or professionals, such as maintenance technicians or chefs, who need both hands free to carry out their work." Of course, this isn't the first eye tracking system out there. One of the previous iterations' major hurdles is involuntary eye movements
that are easily misinterpreted as mouse movements, and that staring at an on-screen button for slightly too long can be misunderstood as well. Dr. Fabian Hermann, a usability engineer on the project, told The Engineer
that by using a "statistical average filter" to account for the jerky involuntary motions, the software can track eye movements much more smoothly. Further, on-screen buttons will change color twice to ensure that the selection is exactly what the user meant. Hermann also said that he forsees the day when by just looking at your stereo or a light panel, you could turn it on or off. He adds: "You could even control a kitchen display showing recipes or other information when your hands are busy or covered in ingredients."