Samsung Builds Good Karma With Intro Of EYECAN+ Eye-Tracking Mouse For The Disabled

Each day, we're bombared with new transistors, faster memory, and GPUs that can crank out a few additional frames per second. And while all of these things are certainly nifty, they aren't exactly having a revolutionary impact on the whole of humanity. That's where Samsung's newest innovation comes in: it's more than a new consumer product, it's an item that's engineered to help people with disabilities. EYECAN+ is Samsung's second-generation eye mouse, which enables people with disabilities to "compose and edit documents as well as browse the web through simple eye movement."

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What's so special about this rendition is that there is no associated eyewear. No glasses, no headgear. It's a single, glasses-free portable box that perches beneath a monitor and then wireless communicates with the user's eye. Samsung has no current plans to sell the unit, but it will build a "limited quantity" to donate to charity organizations. On top of that, both the tech and the design will soon be made open source so that other organizations can pick up where Samsung has left off and push things to another level. Here's a bit of insight on what it's like to use the product, straight from Samsung:

"EYECAN+ requires the user to be situated between 60cm and 70cm from the monitor, and does not require the user to be in any specific position, as it can be used while seated or lying down. Calibration is only required for first-time users, as EYECAN+ will remember each user’s eye characteristics. Users can also adjust the sensitivity of EYECAN+ for both calibration and actual use.

Once calibrated, the EYECAN+ user interface (UI) will appear as a pop-up menu in one of two different modes, rectangular menu board or floating menu wheel, both of which contain 18 different commands. Both menu types can be configured to remain at the fore of the screen.

The use of all 18 commands solely requires eye movement and blinking, and each command can be selected by looking directly at the relevant icon and blinking once. The 18 commands include “copy,” “paste” and “select all,” as well as “drag and drop,” “scroll” and “zoom in.” Additional custom commands can also be created to include existing keystroke commands, such as “close program” (“Alt+F4”) and “print” (“Ctrl+P”).

Compared to its predecessor, EYECAN, Samsung’s first eye mouse that was introduced in March 2012, the calibration sensitivity and overall user experience (UX) of EYECAN+ have been significantly upgraded, in part thanks to Hyung-Jin Shin, a graduate student in computer science at Yonsei University in Seoul. Born quadriplegic, Shin had worked with Samsung on EYECAN between 2011-12, and took on a key role in developing the EYECAN+ UX by piloting the eye mouse over the course of 17 months and extensively working with Samsung engineers to ensure the burgeoning array of functions and commands remain practical and easy to access and use."

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Impressive stuff, and kudos to Samsung for devoting resources to such important items.


Tags:  Samsung, Health, eyewear
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