Seek And Ye Shall Command

If we count all the screens in our lives, it takes a hot minute. Some of them are touchscreens, some need a mouse or keyboard, but we are accustomed to all the input devices. Not everyone can use the various methods, like cerebral palsy patients who rely on eye-tracking hardware. Traditionally, that only works on the connected computer, so switching from a chair-mounted screen to a tablet on the desk is not an option. To give folks the ability to control different computers effortlessly [Zack Freedman] is developing a head-mounted eye-tracker that is not tied to one computer. In a way, this is like a KVM switch, but way more futuristic. [Tony Stark] would be proud.

An infrared detector on the headset identifies compatible screens in line of sight and synchs up with its associated HID dongle. A headset-mounted color camera tracks the head position in relation to the screen while an IR camera scans the eye to calculate where the user is focusing. All the technology here is proven, but this new recipe could be a game-changer to anyone who has trouble with the traditional keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen. Maybe QR codes could assist the screen identification and orientation like how a Wii remote and sensor bar work together.

3 thoughts on “Seek And Ye Shall Command

  1. What about transmitting the data with a very directional antenna? Then the signals are only received by dongles in the direction the head is pointing, no need for IR LOS and the dongles can be a simple receiver.

      1. not that precise – its a cone pattern for directional antenna – so unless you are really really close or using a really really tight cone it should be sufficient for screen selection and have enough tolerance for head position.

        Not sure if its going to be practical as a system though – being that directional the signals will carry further being effectively louder so need to be given less transmission power – its certainly a solvable problem, but perhaps not easily solved with off the shelf parts. It is however only really an issue if the off shelf parts and very directional antenna make it illegal in your nations RF laws.

        Also have to balance how tight the focus is – too tight you loose the forgiving of slight head misalignments too broad and it could be very hard for it to select which screen you mean – if you have a tablet in hand and computer/TV in the distance etc you could be controlling both.

        In the end I think the camera might be the more reliable solution – as it can selectively look at (n) screens and pick the one you are most looking at to interface with. I like the QR code idea – perhaps have it broadcast for all the devices to display one when it wants to re-pair as an option on top of more passive selection (so if you move two monitors around etc it can know which one is actually the one on the left and you can choose to lock yourself to monitor B while still able to glance at A etc.)

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