Eye-tracking technology is not new. In fact we’ve seen examples of it used in smartphones, such as the SmartStay feature in the Galaxy S3. We have also heard rumors that Amazon’s own smartphone could feature eye-tracking as well. At the forefront of eye-tracking technology is the company Tobii, who has in the past released eye-tracking products, and they have recently announced that they will be taking the wraps off their EyeX Engine, which is basically a set of tools that they will be giving to developers as a means for them to add eye-tracking to their apps and devices in the future.
It remains to be seen as to what developers will be able to use these features for, but the possibilities are endless. One of the examples highlighted by Tobii in the video above, is how eye-tracking can be used as a means to navigate a computer, by using one’s eyes as a pointing tool. It can also be used to dismiss notifications once you have read it, which can be incredibly useful and will not be disruptive as compared to having to click the notification away or wait for it to disappear. It can also be used for gaming, especially in FPS games where you head/eye movements will correspond to your movement in the game itself. It sounds pretty awesome and for developers looking to get their hands on the EyeX kit, it will be available for pre-order for $195 and is expected to start shipping in March 2014.
If there was one peeve that I have with smartphones is that sometimes their integration could be a little bit better. For example if one were to do a search in their web browser and come across a Facebook page or profile, it should open up the Facebook app, as an example. Well the good news is that Google has announced an update to its Search feature where search results can yield the option of allowing the user to open up their results in an app. For example if you were to Google a name of a celebrity, instead of surfing to the IMDb website, you can choose the option to launch the app instead.
Google search has also been updated where searching for apps will allow users to directly launch the Google Play store, as you can see in the screenshot above. At the moment it seems that apps that support opening from Google search include IMDb, Newegg, OpenTable, and Wikipedia, as developers will have to include support for the “Open in app” function. Perhaps down the line we will start seeing more support, such as with Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, but in the meantime what do you guys think of this new feature? Pretty cool, huh?