To empower people with disabilities to operate an on-screen mouse and keyboard, Microsoft has announced a beta version of ‘Eye Control’ feature for Windows 10 that can be accessed by using eye movements. According to a blog post by Dona Sarkar, Software Engineer at Microsoft, the ‘Eye Control’ feature requires a compatible eye tracker, like the ‘Tobii Eye Tracker 4C’, which can unlock access to the Windows operating system. Once ‘Eye Control’ is turned on, a launch pad appears on the screen that allows a user to access the mouse, keyboard, text-to-speech and to reposition the User Interface (UI) to the opposite side of the screen. “To interact with the UI for ‘Eye Control’, simply look at the UI with your eyes until the button activates. A visual affordance will appear around the UI that you are looking at,” Sarkar said.
Users can control the mouse by simply selecting the mouse from the launch pad, position their eyes on the screen where they want the cursor to be placed.Users can select the keyboard from the launch pad and dwell at the characters they want to type.However, the new tool faces challenges in direct sunlight and, therefore, the company said the device might require new calibration when moving to a location with different lighting conditions.
Also, the launch pad partially blocks the ‘Tobii UI’ during device calibration. “To work around this, turn off Eye Control during calibration and turn it back on when you are done,” Sarkar noted.The ‘Eye Control’ feature currently supports only selected eye trackers of ‘Tobii’ hardware.