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Future iPhone Might be Controlled by Eye-Movement


Editor in Chief
Jul 27, 2011
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Here's a slick new technology patent that Apple recently applied for. This isn't a technology that will come anytime soon, but it is definitely something to keep an eye out for (and that is actually an intended pun, which you will see in a moment). The technology Apple is trying to patent is basically a control mechanism for your mobile device which uses eye-movement.

There is a big biological technical hurdle that Apple must overcome to make this work, and they believe they are close to that. The problem is called "Troxler fading" which is a phenomenon which results from the way our brains interpret input from our eyes. Here's a quote with the details, but we also included an animated gif in the first reply thread below to help illustrate the issue:

“Troxler fading is a phenomenon of visual perception that the human brain uses to cope with blind spots on the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue lining of the inner surface of the eye. One result of this phenomenon is that when one fixates on a particular point, objects in one’s peripheral vision will fade away and disappear.”

In Apple's patent filing, they outline several different methods they believe will overcome the Troxler fading effect. Here's one example,

“In one configuration, altering the position of the movable indicator may include providing a command to an input device driver that prompts the GUI to render the movable indicator at a position in the GUI different from the position associated with the user’s point of gaze within the GUI. In this manner, data from an input device to the input device driver may be preempted such that the measure for counteracting the perceptual fading of the movable indicator is implemented without action on behalf of the user.”

Be sure to check out the animated gif in the thread below to see the "trippy" way it fools your brain.

Source: BGR
Here's that animated gif to show off the Troxler Fading effect. Be sure to focus your vision on the cross in the center of the image and wait for a few moments to see what happens!

There's no word on the specifics of what the eye-controls will do yet. :)