Windows 8: Navigate Files, Folders With Your Eyes

Dennis Faas's picture

A new PC peripheral offers users of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system (OS) the ability to control their computers using only their eyeballs. Produced by the Swedish tech firm Tobii, it's called the Rex, and it connects to a Windows 8 computer's standard USB port.

Tobii's eye-controlled technology was first unveiled at last year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Today, it has evolved into an eye-tracking hardware tool that uses Tobii's own 'Gaze' user interface software to interact with a Windows 8 PC.

Look Your Way Around Windows 8

The Tobii Rex hardware connects to a USB port, and also to the lower section of a standard PC monitor. It's quite small -- approximately the size of a ballpoint pen.

Once the 'Gaze' software is properly installed, a user can operate the computer by controlling where they aim their eyes. Tobii Rex recognizes such standard computer commands as select, zoom, and scroll, and can manipulate files, folders, and even the web.

Tobii says Rex is not meant to completely replace the standard mouse, keyboard, and touchpad. Instead, the company encourages users to integrate their use of the Rex with those more conventional input devices.

Tobii also says Rex is capable of controlling any Windows 8 device, including tablet computers and ultrabooks running Microsoft's new OS. (Source:

Intel Provides Major Backing

The Rex technology is apparently drawing a lot of positive attention. After last year's CES, the company unveiled an "Eye Asteroids" arcade game set up to play the classic Atari Asteroids game, but without the usual joystick control.

Instead, players' eye movements were enough to direct the spaceship's weapons and positioning in attempting to destroy incoming asteroids and weapons-firing flying saucers.

That technology drew the interest of Intel, the giant US-based computer chip maker. In March 2012, Intel paid $21 million to acquire a ten per cent share of Tobii and its Rex technology. (Source:

That has been helpful to the company, but Tobii Rex peripherals are still difficult to acquire. A big reason is that Tobii plans to ship just 5,000 units between January and December, 2013.

Pricing and availability remain unclear. However, insiders have suggested the hardware could initially be priced at about $1,000 USD, which could discourage many consumers from trying the new gear. (Source:

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