Eye-tracking iBeam tablet announced by NTT DoCoMo, Tobii, and Fujitsu, first look scheduled for October

September 20, 2012
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Android has been moving closer and closer to being able to use full eye-tracking technology. There’s some examples already, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III feature called Smart Stay. This forces the screen to stay on if you’re looking at it so you don’t have to touch the screen to prevent it from turning off. Eye-tracking technology might be getting a lot more awesome than that in the near future with the iBeam tablet.

The iBeam is a triple effort as companies Tobii, NTT DoCoMo, and Fujitsu are all in the act. In short, the aim is to bring a tablet that runs a special skinned version of Android that will allow customers to navigate the interface with their eyes instead of their hands. This could be very useful in dozens, if not hundreds of scenarios. If you need an example, think of every time where using your hands are not a viable option. That does not include texting while driving, which no one should ever do.

NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, and Tobii have not yet announced what specs the iBeam will have. They have confirmed that it will have the Tobii IS20 which is known to be the most advanced and compact eye-tracker out there. It is, however, still in the prototype stages so the final hardware may not have been decided. Of course, the goal is not just to produce hardware capable of it, but to produce software that other OEMs can use to give their Android devices eye-tracking as well.

When is the iBeam going to be released?

There is no current release date. However, the iBeam tablet will be making an appearance at CEATEC in Tokyo, Japan during the first week of October. This will give a lot of people a chance to check out the tablet and the technology first hand. The iBeam might even have a set of specs and a release date by then.

Eye-tracking technology would be awesome to have on any Android device. Being able to control various applications like music, eReaders, and even more mundane things like the phone dialer and calender with eye movement would be a lot easier in many situations. Imagine having a Swype keyboard that you swiped with your eyes. Is this a technology you could see yourself using, or could it just be a novelty idea like 3D screens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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