In the midst of fiddling with tablets and laptops at Computex, we haven't been thinking much of eye-tracking technologies until we saw Utechzone's booth. What we have here is the Spring, a TW$240,000 (US$8,380) eye-tracking rig that was launched in March 2010 and is aimed at users with limited mobility. The package consists of an LCD monitor, a computer, and an external sensor that utilizes infrared to track our pupils. Also included is an eye-friendly software suite that lets users play games, browse the web and media files, send emails, communicate with caretakers, and read PDF or TXT files.

We had a go on the Spring and quickly learned how to control it with our eyes: much like the Xbox Kinect, in order to make a click we had to hover the cursor over (or fix our eyes on) a desired button until the former completes a spin. The tracking was surprisingly accurate, except we had to take off our glasses for it to work; that said, the other glasses didn't exhibit the same issue, so the culprit could be just some coating on our lenses. Another problem we found was that it only took a quick jiggle with our eyes to cancel the spinning countdown, so full concentration is required to use the Spring. This shouldn't be a problem outside a noisy event like Computex, anyway, and if you need more convincing, we were told that a disabled Taiwanese professor managed to hit 100,000 Chinese characters within three months using phonetic input on the the same rig -- he's planning on releasing a new book soon. Have a look at our eyes-on video after the break for a better idea on how the Spring works.

Utechzone Spring eye-tracking system hands-on

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Utechzone Spring eye-tracking system hands-on (video)