Friday, March 09, 2007


Fed up of clicking on the computer mouse? Relief could soon be on its way thanks to the efforts of Stanford University researchers Manu Kumar, a doctoral student and Terry Winograd, a computer science professor. They have created an alternative to the mouse that allows computer users to click links, highlight text or simply scroll by just looking at the screen instead of tapping a key on the keyboard. The technology is called Gaze-enhanced User Interface Design, or GUIDe. Kumar, 31, is part professor Winograd’s team, who interestingly was one of the early advisors to the Google founders and actually worked at Google for a time. Besides letting people browse, GUIDe will help switch between applications. It will take pressure off hands and fingers. The technology works with standard eyetracking hardware.

The software requires that a person look at a document, for instance, and hold a hot key on the keyboard (usually found on the number pad on the right). The area of the screen that’s being looked at becomes magnified. Then, the person pinpoints his focus within the magnified region and releases the hot key, effectively clicking through to the link. As the eye is not very stable Kumar wrote an algorithm that allows the computer to smooth out the eye pupil jitters in real time. The rest of the research involved studying how people look at a screen and figuring out a way to build an interface that does not overload the visual channel. Hopefully GUIDe will soon hit the market and help do away with mouse clicks.

-Economic Times

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