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Play Pong and Read Emails With Your Eyes Using This $60 Device

A device from an Imperial College London team costs $60 to build and lets people with disabilities control their computers using their eyes

A team of researchers from Imperial College London have developed an eye-tracking device that lets you control a computer, and not just control it, play games, read e-mails, and even browse the web.

While eye-tracking technology is not new, this device is exciting for one good reason: it's cheap to build. While similar technology can be very unaffordable for those who really need it, this new device can be built for less than $60, and is made out of two video game console cameras.

To prove the device's effectiveness, the team had able-bodied subjects use it to play the all-time favorite game of Pong. As you all know, Pong requires quite the sleight of hand, and the subjects were able to get some respectable scores using nothing but their eyes to move the paddle. Impressive.

The eye-tracking system can be used to control almost anything on a computer, and can connect to any Windows or Linux PC via Wi-Fi or USB. You can use it to browse the Web, read files, and even write e-mails.

One ingenious aspect of this device--aside from the affordable price, of course--is its ability to detect mouse "clicks." Many similar devices struggle to distinguish between involuntary eye movements and the voluntary movements meant to emulate clicks. In order to click something, all you have to do is wink, and since this is something we usually don't do by mistake, it should work perfectly.

On the long run, the device can be used to detect not only where a person is looking, but how far he's looking, thus enabling people with disabilities to control a wheelchair or a prosthetic with their eyes only.

[Institute of Physics via The Verge]

Yaara is a foodie, horse-lover and biologist who enjoys being a geek as a full-time job. You can also find her on MakeUseOf and tweeting her time away on @ylancet.

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