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Samsung’s ‘eye mouse’ lets you control your PC with a glance

Samsung EyeCan+

The latest version of Samsung's EyeCan technology is now glasses-free and sits below your monitor in a self-contained portable box

Samsung has unveiled a new model of its EyeCan ‘eye mouse’, which lets disabled users control a computer using only their eye movements. The previous version of EyeCan, first introduced in March 2012, involved a pair of glasses, but the new EyeCan+ is a self-contained unit which attaches to the lower half of a computer monitor.

Once it’s connected and calibrated to the user’s eye characteristics, it presents users with 18 different command options, including copy, paste, select all, drag and drop, scroll and zoom in. Words can be highlighted with a look, for instance, and ‘clicked’ with a blink, negating the need for a dedicated keyboard and mouse.

Samsung showed off its new technology at a demonstration in Seoul yesterday, where it was used by graduate student Hyung-Jin Shin of Yonsei University, who was born quadriplegic. Shin worked with Samsung’s engineers to improve the EyeCan+ over the course of 17 months to make sure the device was practical and easy to use.

Samsung Eyecan

“EYECAN+ is the result of a voluntary project initiated by our engineers, and reflects their passion and commitment to engage more people in our community,” said SiJeong Cho, Vice President of Community Relations at Samsung Electronics in a company blog post.

However, the EyeCan+ won’t be commercialised like the rest of Samsung’s portfolio. Instead, the company will manufacture a limited number and donate them to charities. Samsung also plans to make the technology open source, so that other companies and organisations can make their own versions of EyeCan+. 

“Though EyeCan may seem like a simple device, we are hopeful it can help improve the quality of life for those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and Locked-in syndrome (LIS),” the EyeCan team said on its project page.

“We really enjoyed making the EyeCan, and since this is an open-source platform, we hope that more and more people will jump in to improve the device. EyeCan is currently not for sale. The EyeCan project team is providing only the technology. Our hope is that this technology can spread to reach people in need.”

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