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Forget touch. Forget gestures. Control your laptop with your eyes.

This Frankenstein laptop has two Tobii IR emitters and cameras mounted below the screen.

Rafe Needleman/CNET)

LAS VEGAS–At CES this year, Tobii, which has been making technology that watches what you’re looking at on a screen, is showing off its gaze-controlled demo laptop and introducing its eye control interface for Windows 8.

I first met Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America, at the D9 conference last June, and we had a talk about my reservations over eye control. On paper, this technology is incredibly cool and sci-fi-ish, but my issue is this: We use our eyes to see, not to control. There’s a big cognitive difference between looking at something on a screen and touching it (or mousing to it). Eyes are input devices, not output. That’s why gaze tracking for analytics makes sense. But for controlling a computer interface?

I sat with Barclay and Tobii’s Anders Olsson at CES today and got to try the latest from Tobii. One of the key tenets with the Windows 8 demo is that it uses a combination of touch and eyesight for the interface. To select a tile to launch, for example, you press down the Windows key, look at the tile for the app you want, and then release the key. That ameliorates the issue of having your computer go off and do something when your mind or gaze wanders. It is easier to look at somethi… [Read more]

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