Forget QWERTY vs. touchscreen: Future smartphones will be controlled with your eyes

Touch screen keyboards have largely replaced hard QWERTY keyboards on smartphones (with the exception of the BlackBerry diehards), but soon even that technology could be displaced. What will control the smartphone of the future? Your eyes.

At least that’s the vision of the researchers at Toronto’s OCAD University. A team of OCAD grad students were at the EyeTrackBehavior 2013 conference in Boston last week to discuss a project they call Cardinal, as a new approach to eye-gesture based communication with computers.

Instead of the “gaze and dwell” approach typically used in such eye gesture projects, Cardinal uses a “swipe” approach. The former has typically been likened to a computer mouse, while the latter would be more like how we manipulate a touchscreen with our fingers today.

How does it work? The group has created a set of 32 eye gestures that correspond to 95 per cent of characters used in conversational typing. The eye gestures are restricted to straight lines in cardinal directions. Click here to learn more about the technology.

It’s a novel approach, and it won the team top prize at the EyeTrackBehavior 2013 conference. Is it really the future of smartphone interaction, though? Probably not any time soon. For those with accessibility issues though, it does offer an intriguing new way of interacting with computer systems.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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