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Microsoft Patents Method for Eye-Tracking Keyboard Input

by Brandon Russell | December 25, 2014December 25, 2014 9:00 am PDT


A new patent filed by Microsoft describes a system that would allow users to enter text into a computing device using eye-tracking software. Imagine using a device like Google Glass and being able to type out entire sentences just by looking at the letters you want to use. B-R-A-N-D-O-N. That might not seem like a practical way to communicate in the age of virtual keyboards, but imagine the difference it could make for someone who is unable to use his or her hands.

Eye-typing techniques are currently on the brink of making a real breakthrough. As Microsoft’s patent describes, today’s options are slow and typically requirer a user to fix his or her gaze on a specific key for a long period of time. Microsoft’s solution would speed the process up through a combination of pattern recognition and by gathering samples.

By gathering a plurality of gaze samples taken from an initiation of eye-typing until an indiction that the user has finished eye-typing, and then processing the plurality of gaze samples together, entire words may be processed at one time. This may allow the user to fixate on each key for a relatively short amount of time.

The existence of a patent is never a guarantee we’ll see a final product. But with Microsoft supposedly working on a VR headset, perhaps we’ll see the company’s eye-tracking trickery show up sooner rather than later.

USPTO PocketNow

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...