Eye-Controlled Earphones For MP3 Players?Written by Christian Milsom on February 17, 2010 · Filed under Tech
Occasionally you stumble upon things that just look too weird, futuristic or downright bizarre that you have to look around to double check that it’s not just someone having a joke, and the new ‘eye sensing’ earphones which have been demonstrated by NTT Docomo Inc fit into that category quite well.
The two earphones effectively track the movement of the eye, which is then recorded and used to do whatever it is you had in mind using some pretty nifty technology borrowed from the methods used in the medical fields to achieve the same outcome – measuring the movement of the eye.
Unfortunately the medical method isn’t particularly practical; they work by measuring the changes in voltage levels at electrodes due to the fact that the corneal side of an eyeball is positively charged while the retinal side is negatively charged, but it turns out that putting electrodes round people’s eyes isn’t all that useful in the normal world, so the makers of these earphones came up with a solution.
Whilst it may seem fairly obvious (put the electrodes on the earphones) a lot of work has gone into making them efficient at that great a distance from the eye, but now they have a working model of earphones which can correctly map the movement of the eye.
The uses of this are diverse, but the one demonstrated used an MP3 player which was controlled by assigning certain directions of the eye to certain functions e.g. look right to play, left to go back a track, rotate clockwise to turn the volume up etc. Could this be revolutionary technology of the decade like the Apple iPod MP3 player was so successful in the noughties?
As you can imagine this could be pretty neat, and would save you that incredibly arduous task of reaching into your pocket and physically pressing the buttons (I am of course being a little sarcastic, but you get my drift). But you don’t need to stop at MP3 players: Laptops, Phones, pretty much anything could be controlled using this discrete method, and although you will have to remember not to look at the extremities of your vision in any direction I’m sure you would get used to it pretty quickly!