Windows 10 will now include an built-in eye tracking support and an experience called “Eye Control,” which is inspired from the winning Microsoft hackathon project in 2014.
The Eye Control, features right now is in beta, and can be used by Windows Insider—makes Windows 10 more accessible, as “it empower people with disabilities to operate an onscreen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech experience using only their eyes.”
To use the feature, requires a compatible eye tracker, like the “Tobii 4C,” which unlocks access to the Windows operating system to be able to do the tasks one could previously accomplish with a physical mouse and keyboard, writes Microsoft.
Here is a screenshot of Eye Control demo:
“Having Eye Control in Windows 10 continues to bridge the gap between widely used technology and people with disabilities. It’s simply liberating,” says former NFL athlete Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s).
Three years ago, Gleason challenged Microsoft to help him during its inaugural One Week Hackathon. ALS has robbed him of his ability to speak, move so much as a finger or breathe without a respirator.
During the hackathon, employees who made up the Ability Eye Gaze team developed the Eye Gaze Wheelchair, which allowed Gleason to drive his wheelchair using only the movement of his eyes as he looked at controls on his Surface device.
The project was received so enthusiastically by employees and the ALS community that a new Microsoft Research team was created to understand the potential of eye-tracking technology.
Jake Cohen, Program Manager on the Windows Interaction Platform team, is one of the Program Managers responsible for designing and integrating Eye Control into Windows 10. “When I approached Microsoft three years ago, I asked them to help develop innovative technology programs that would allow people with disabilities to stay productive and purposeful,” Cohen says. “They agreed without hesitation. At that time, I had no idea they would continue expanding access throughout all of Windows 10.”
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