NUIA eyeCharm turns Kinect into an eye-tracker

A lot of people are getting excited about the upcoming availability of the Tobii REX device, that adds eye-tracking capability to existing computers. If it’s any indication of what consumer prices will be, a Developer Edition is currently available for US$995. Munich-based startup 4titoo, however, is hoping that consumers might be swayed towards its $60 alternative. It’s called the NUIA eyeCharm, and it works with the user’s existing Kinect.

The device attaches over the front of an Xbox or Windows-version Kinect, which itself is placed below the computer’s monitor and plugged into one of its USB ports.

A diagram illustrating how the NUIA eyeCharm works

The eyeCharm projects infrared light onto the user’s face, which the Kinect’s infrared camera is able to detect. Using 4titoo’s NUIA Software Suite and the camera’s output, the computer is subsequently able to determine what part of the on-screen display the user is looking at. The Kinect’s microphone also facilitates voice commands.

From there, the user can do things like zooming, page-flipping, selecting, scrolling and pretty much anything else, just by shifting their gaze.

It reportedly takes less than ten minutes to get the device and software installed and running. The technology currently supports the Windows 7 and 8 operating systems, although its designers are looking at porting it to other systems, such as OS X and Linux.

A NUIA SDK (software development kit) is also available, for people interested in creating software that utilizes the eyeCharm.

The designers are currently raising productions funds for the device, on Kickstarter. Although its projected retail price is $60, a pledge of $50 will get you one, when and if they reach production.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: NUIA via Kickstarter

Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben’s interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that’s designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn’t so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth

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