We were kind of shocked at just how well the Lenovo prototype laptop with Tobii eye tracking worked at CEBIT this year. It was, frankly, really good, and we're happy to say you no longer have to break into Lenovo HQ to try it for yourself. Tobii has released its PCEye, a USB device that uses a VESA mount to hang below LCDs sized between 15- to 20-inches. After a little calibration, it enables full eye control -- on Windows. Mac users will have to keep buying batteries for their Magic Mice because there's sadly no compatibility there. The main idea here is to help those who, due to stroke or other impairment, have lost some or all motor control, enabling them to compute just as well as anybody. However, we who are lucky enough to still have full control over all appendages can't wait to get one of these and play through every level in World of Goo without reaching for the mouse once. We will, however, have to reach for our wallets -- Tobii doesn't quote a price for the PCEye, which is rarely a good sign.
Update: We just heard back from the company, and the price of the PCEye itself is $6,900, "with packages available for software and monitors."
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Tobii Unveils Eye Control Device for Personal Computers
The Ability to Control Any Computer Using Only Your Eyes is Now a Reality with Tobii PCEye
Stockholm, Sweden & Dedham MA, USA; April 5th, 2011: Today, Tobii announced the release of the Tobii PCEye, the most advanced stand-alone eye control device on the market, bringing eye control to the standard computer. It is easy to use, highly accurate and portable. It is compatible with a wide range of software for total access to any personal computer.
Tobii PCEye flawlessly translates eye movement to a mouse cursor on a screen. It is primarily designed for those needing an alternative method for controlling a mouse and a computer, such as individuals suffering from impaired motor skills. By simply attaching the device to a computer screen and connecting the USB cable, users can control their entire computer through gazing, blinking or dwelling on an item with their eyes.
"Ease of use, reliability and outstanding performance were our design goals for the PCEye," says Oscar Werner, Executive Vice President at Tobii Assistive Technology. "I believe that we have created a device that satisfies a very important need – those with high cognitive levels and motor skill impairments now have the computer access they need to lead a more independent life."
Computer Access for Everyone with Easy Eye Control
Representing a breakthrough for education leaders and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) users, Tobii PCEye now offers eye tracking to a wider range of users.
"The PCEye offers a solution for the most disabled children I work with," says Lee Blemings, founder of Sensory Guru. "For the first time ever, children who can only move their eyes will play physical computer games alongside their able-bodied peers. It is a truly groundbreaking product."
"With Tobii PCEye we can proudly reach out to new, not yet serviced user groups with our AAC products," says Tara Rudnicki, president of Tobii Assistive Technology. "We have already seen massive interest from the Stroke, MND and ALS communities, people in different rehab situations, military veterans, people suffering from progressive muscle weakness or neurodegenerative disorders and education institutions. We are also overwhelmed by the attention we have received from the development community to extend into AAC eye games."
"To have an eye gaze system in our school that will enable our young people to access all software independently will promote independence, learning and self esteem," says Simon Yeat, head teacher at Chailey Heritage School.
High Performance for All Eye Types
The PCEye utilizes Tobii's leading experience in eye tracking technology, as it can effectively track nearly every user regardless of eye color, lighting conditions, environments or head movement. The "track box", the box that defines the area/volume in which a person's eyes can be tracked, is also one of the largest on the market.
For more European information on the PCEye please visit: www.tobii.com/ATI-pceye