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A New Eye Tracking Technology Might Make Smartphones More Accessible

Smartphones are no longer luxuries that people can afford to go without, because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up isolating them from sources of information and easy communication channels that people expect you to have. In spite of the fact that this is the case, many smartphones are not designed with accessibility in mind. There are some features that can help people with vision problems or hearing issues use smartphones relatively easily, but this new experimental tech might be an even bigger leap forward.

A team of researchers working in the Future Interfaces Group which is based in Carnegie Mellon University might have found a way to bridge the growing accessibility gap between users with disabilities and ever increasing smartphone sizes. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this new tech is not aimed at just users with disabilities, rather it is meant to make smartphone usage more intuitive for everyone.


The most common way to interact with your phone is through some kind of tactile interface, usually your finger. Styluses are also used fairly widely, but this new tech uses motion tracking to track the movement of your eyes instead. Users will be able to select apps, go back to a previous screen, check their notifications with this interface by combing it with some subtle gestures such as flicks and shakes of the hand while your phone is held in it.

One thing that differentiates this latest research from similar studies done previously is that it has narrowed down the gestures and motions that might get detected. Making the interface too sensitive can result in things happening even when you didn’t intend them to, so this research has definitely pushed accessibility into a new area. It will be interesting to see where things go from here, because advancements like this can completely change how we interact with our smartphones with all things having been considered and taken into account as well as how we think about using them.



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