Samsung eye-tracking tech lets disabled users browse the web

Samsung has announced a new, updated version of its eye-tracking mouse. Known as Eyecan+, the technology uses a combination of hardware and software to allow people with disabilities to browse the web, as well as compose and edit documents.

While performing simple computing tasks comes naturally to most of us, they can present a real difficulty for those with a disability that impairs movement. Samsung’s Eyecan+ is designed to improve accessibility for those people, allowing them to navigate documents and the web without the use of a conventional mouse and keyboard.

The technology consists of a physical box that sits beneath the user’s display, and an onscreen user interface. The system wirelessly calibrates with the user’s eye movement, after which they can use the onscreen pop-up menu, selecting commands by looking at them, and executing them by blinking.

The UI consists of 18 different commands including scrolling, zooming, copying and pasting, and will remember eye characteristics, meaning that each user will only have to go through the calibration process once. If the preset commands don’t suit the needs of the user, custom inputs can be configured, and sensitivity can be adjusted.

The company unveiled the original EyeCan back in 2012, but the new version features a significantly improved user experience, as well as more accurate eye tracking.

Samsung’s effort isn’t the first time we’ve seen camera tracking tech put to use in helping those with disabilities to better interact with modern technology. The Sesame smartphone, which is currently looking for crowdfunding support, adopts a similar idea. In that case, the software tracks the user’s head movement rather than their eyes, allowing them to control an Android smartphone.

Interestingly, Samsung doesn’t have any plans to mass produce the Eyecan+, with the company announcing that it will only make a limited number of devices, shipping them out to charity organizations. However, it does intend to make both the technology and design of the device open source, allowing other companies and organizations to commercialize the product should they so wish.