Back from CEATEC 2012, Asia's largest tech conference, I'm proud to say I had the opportunity to try out Docomo's latest "i beam" tablet (lawsuit from Apple in 5...4...3...) that you move with your eyes.
The Grip UI system that I reviewed a little bit ago was certainly interesting, but moving stuff just by looking around is like something out of a sci-fi movie.
So eyetracking technology has been around for a while, but it has yet to make a real impact in consumer goods. If this technology can be put to good use, it'll be a revolutionary new way to control not just your tablet, but any and every single gadget you use.
It's hard to select an icon even if you focus on it.
The tablet itself is pretty big and has a longer profile than normal (it's longer than the iPad), making the icons bigger and thus easier to control with your eyes.
Eye beam to the upper right! It's harder than it looks...
Focusing on one space for 1 second is the equivalent of a click, and even with this in mind, I found myself clicking a lot of places I didn't mean to.
As the Docomo representative explained to me, this is a prototype and they have no concrete plans to turn it into an actual product. It seems like there's still a bit of work to be done before this hits the market.
Additionally, you can't wear sunglasses when using the system, and wearing regular glasses decreases overall eyetracking accuracy. You also can't move once you calibrate the device. These are kind of big problems.
So yeah, it's still got a bit of work before it becomes a real, useful bit of tech. Next time I get to try out this eyetracking control system, it might be in a whole different form and function from the way in which I experienced it. But yeah, still a ways to go until we get there.
Translation by Jason Morgan