Feeds

Now you can control ANY Win 8 kit with your EYEBALLS

Sick of stroking Tiles? Now you can glare at them

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

CES 2013 It's all gestures and eyeball-tracking at CES this year, with Tobii releasing a USB peripheral that adds control-by-sight to any Windows PC and Lenovo upgrading its Yoga to finger-watching.

Tobii demonstrated its eyeball-tracking technology at CES last year, but this time it is announcing a 5,000 unit production run of a USB bar which can be stuck to the bottom of the monitor of any Windows 8 PC to start tracking eyeballs. Lenovo isn't even waiting that long. Although it is only tracking fingers, it's adding the capability to existing Yoga laptops courtesy of eyeSight Tech.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off next week but companies are already announcing what they're going to show in the hope of gaining some pre-show publicity, with better ways to control Windows 8 featuring prominently in the offerings.

Touchscreens are marvellous for phones, and good for tablets, but for traditional computing, the technology just isn't as good as the venerable mouse. Kinect showed the way, in limited form, but with the interface formerly known as Metro, Microsoft has created a platform which needs something better than a mouse and is spurring development of some interesting technologies.

Mice are great, not least because they allow (at least) two levels of interaction: mouse-over and click. Aping that with a touchscreen is really hard unless you've got some Wacom tech built in (such as the Samsung Note or the first round of Windows tablets) and even then it only works with a pen, but navigating around Kinect is a pain precisely because it lacks the definition to allow "clicking".

Tobii gets round that problem with a button. One holds it down while looking, then releases when one's gaze is fixed on the point where one wants to click, creating two levels of interaction, while Lenovo just adds gestures for scrolling and gross navigation. Both systems expect the user to drop back to the traditional pointer eventually.

The lucky few who used a Fingerworks keyboard will be familiar with swiping back and forth and gripping to zoom, but Fingerworks kit was prohibitively expensive and still requires one's fingers to rest on the pad - two-dimensional gestures at best. Lenovo's Yoga is using eyeSight's technology to manage navigation within apps including PowerPoint and the media player, allowing a wave of the hand to control playback or navigate between slides, but is available now.

Tobii's USB kit will be shipping "in the spring" though the company is taking pre-orders on the $995 developer version, and taking names for early access to the consumer kit.

The mouse has had a decent innings, but won't be replaced by a touchscreen any time soon, so it's good to see proper innovation in interfacing hitting real products rather than only making an appearance in technical demonstrations. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.