Published: Sat, August 05, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Joan Schultz

Windows 10 receives built-in eye tracking support

Windows 10 receives built-in eye tracking support

The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview, specifically Build 16257 for PCs, introduces a beta version of the feature, giving everyone, both those disabilities and fully capable users, some hands-free control over their computers.

Little more than a day after announcing it was adding Eye Control to Windows 10, Microsoft is letting Windows Insiders take the feature for a spin. Once setup is complete, a launchpad will appear on the screen where users can access the mouse, keyboard, text-to-speech feature.

This awesome experience will require a compatible eye tracker such as the Tobii 4C. That is what Tobii was initially developed for in fact.

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Microsoft also plans to expand support to more eye trackers, including the Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini, PCEyePlus, EyeMobile Plus and I-series, said Sarkar. Note that you need to allow driver installations through Windows Update for that. Through this eye tracking system, users would be able to navigate their PCs with their eyes. Support for the first beta of Eye Control is limited to an EN-US keyboard layout, but the company is working on expanding support to other layouts and languages. The technology allows you to "type by just glancing at the characters instead of dwelling on each one", he said.

The technology itself comes from Tobii, a Swedish company that has long worked on eye controlled systems, which is now partnering with the Redmond giant to make the feature part of Microsoft's operating system (OS). To enable this function, go to keyboard settings on the Fn page.

Those who want to test-out the functionality will need a compatible eye tracker, like the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C.

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To use text-to-speech, select text-to-speech from the launchpad use the keyboard to type out sentences that will then be spoken aloud. It will also feature predictive text.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, expected to arrive next month, will bring several improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser and will also update the default colors in the Windows Console for the first time in more than 20 years. The new color scheme will only be visible in Properties if you do a clean install of the build. Instead of a finger swipe from key to key, it tracks the user's gaze.

According to the preview build blog post by Dona Sarkar, Software Engineer, Windows and Devices Group, a launch pad will appear on the screen once you turn on Eye Control.

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