By Andrew Liszewski
Modern 3D film technologies have managed to get most of the population used to wearing glasses. Even those like myself who are (so far) lucky enough to not need them outside of a movie theater. And while I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that SensoMotoric Instruments, or SMI, is taking advantage of this trend. I find the timing of their new eye tracking binocular glasses a little suspicious.
Mostly because the glasses don’t really benefit the person wearing them. In fact, maybe ‘test subject’ is a better term than ‘person’ since the glasses are designed to benefit researchers, or marketing types, who have a vested interest in how the human eye wanders. Whether it’s across the UI of an application, the dashboard of a car, or even an advertisement in a magazine. A couple of small cameras on the rim of the glasses constantly monitor the movement of the wearer’s eyes, while another camera records what they’re looking at in HD. Overlaid on that video is a small blue circle which indicates exactly what the wearer is focusing on. Whether it’s a shelf half way across a store, or the details on the side of a package.
In theory the technology could be applied to actually interacting with user interfaces on smartphone apps, or automobile interiors, without the use of your hands. But given the limitations of today’s technology the glasses would still be required. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from 3D over the years, it’s that no one wants to be forced to wear them.