Samsung Launches Improved Second-Generation Eye-Controlled Mouse

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Samsung unveiled the second-generation of its EYECAN+ eye mouse on Tuesday, promising that the device would enable people with disabilities to browse the Web and create and edit documents with the blink of an eye.
According to Alyssa Newcomb of ABC News, the hands-free device is a portable box that is positioned below a computer monitor. It does not require the user to wear any special equipment or place their head in a special position, and after calibration, the device will even remember the characteristics of the user’s eyes.
“From there, users will be able to write and edit messages and browse the Internet while they’re seated or lying down – controlling the system with their subtle eye movements,” Newcomb said, noting that it works at distances of up to two feet. “It sounds like a futuristic dream, but Samsung’s engineers [on Tuesday] showed off the result of their passion project, which they hope will allow people with disabilities to be better able to use computers.”
“EYECAN+ is the result of a voluntary project initiated by our engineers, and reflects their passion and commitment to engage more people in our community,” Samsung Vice President of Community Relations SiJeong Cho said in a statement. The technology will not be commercially sold, but will instead be produced in limited quantities, donated to charity organizations and then made open source.
EYECAN+ is far from the only input device designed with accessibility in mind, although as Slashgear’s JC Torres points out, many eye-driven input devices that have been developed focus more on entertainment than productivity. Samsung’s new device was designed to take the place of a mouse and give users nearly total control of a computer.
Users can operate this “eye mouse” while either sitting or lying down, as long as both the computer monitor and the box itself are within sight, Torres said. They select an option by focusing their eyes on an icon and blinking to simulate a mouse click. EYECAN+ has 18 commands available, and all of them can be configured to a specific action, and the user interface can appear as a pop-up rectangular menu or a floating menu wheel, he added.
Among the 18 commands included in the device are options to copy, paste, select all, zoom in, scroll and drag and drop, noted CNET journalist Lance Whitney, and the device can also be programmed to execute custom commands. He added that the company is promising more accurate calibration and a better user experience than the first-generation EYECAN, which was released in March 2012.
The company said that much of the device’s upgrades are due to the work of Hyung-Jin Shin, a graduate student in computer science at Yonsei University in Seoul. Shin was born quadriplegic, and spent 17 months working with engineers and piloting the eye mouse to ensure that the device was easy to use, and the functions and commands were practical and could be accessed without difficulty.
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