August 21, 2002


Scientists find way to 'type with eyes' (Steve Connor, 22 August 2002, Independent uk)
Computer scientists have devised a method of "typing" without a keyboard using clever software that creates words and sentences using eye movements alone.

Two Cambridge University researchers have shown that their invention does not result in eye-strain, is just as fast as conventional typing and results in fewer mistakes.

David Ward and David MacKay, physicists in the university's Cavendish Laboratory, are making the software freely available in the hope that computer firms will use the idea, which promises to revolutionise technology for the disabled.

In a study published today in the journal Nature, the scientists say that the system, which monitors the gaze of the user's eye to type up to 34 words a minute, is faster and more reliable than similar "on-screen" keyboards that rely on eye movements.

The software works by following the eye with a tracker and camera as it runs along a list of letters arranged in alphabetical order on the screen. When the eye fixes on a letter, the computer offers a series of intelligent choices about what the next letter should be.

Dr Ward and Dr MacKay say that it is like choosing a desired piece of text from an enormous library of books on a shelf. Instead of choosing each letter in turn, writing becomes like a navigational task.

For someone who types by the Biblical method--Seek, and ye shall find--this is great news. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 21, 2002 9:29 PM
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