The Eye Tribe Brings Working Eye-Tracking to Android

By Gerald Lynch on at

Top-end Samsung devices have in the past experimented with some basic eye-tracking controls, but what if you could control every Android app, hands-free? That's the goal of The Eye Tribe, showing off a working proof-of-concept device that could spell the end for finger-smeared screens.

Using a modified Samsung Galaxy Note 2 that had its infra-red filter removed, The Eye Tribe's Anders Bo Pedersen (the company's mobile lead) attached a small infra-red light emitter to the microUSB port at the bottom of the phone. Though it's generating a J. J. Abrams-like lens flare in the image above, to the naked eye it's little more than a dim red glow.

After a short calibration process, Pedersen was able to chop apples and bananas in Fruit Ninja simply by focussing his gaze on them, and scrolling through menu options with a glance.

The plan however, is not to offer a similar add-on to the public. Rather, The Eye Tribe is looking to use MWC 2014 to court OEMs and manufacturers, with the aim to be building the tech directly inside handsets. A simple modification to camera arrays (removing the IR-filter and adding the emitter), is all that it would take to deliver working, true eye-tracking tech. And with the change so simple to implement, The Eye Tribe is hoping to sign deals with such volume that it'll cost manufacturers just pence to offer the unique control method in their devices.