Retina-Tracking Software Coming to Android Devices

Dennis Faas's picture

A team of PhD students from IT University of Copenhagen has developed new software that eliminates the need to physically touch a mobile device in order to perform simple tasks, like scrolling up and down a web page.

Instead, the new technology uses eye movements to perform these same functions.

The students initially pursued their idea -- which has since been branded "Eye Tribe" -- as a collaborative submission for their European StartupBootcamp accelerator program back in 2011. The team has since grown into a small startup company, including twelve full-time employees who continue to build eye-tracking software and applications for mobile devices.

But it was this past week that Eye Tribe received its biggest publicity boost to date: the startup announced plans to release a developer kit for Android-based games and applications, beginning in June.

If all goes according to plan, Android customers will soon be able to open a web browser, unlock their password-protected home screens, and even play video games using nothing but their eyes.

World's First Eye-Control Software

According to the official press release, Eye Tribe is the "world's first eye-control software" for Android devices.

This isn't the first time we've heard about retina-tracking smartphone technology. Samsung's Galaxy S4 will use a 'Smart Scroll' feature to track eye movements and flip through web pages.

However, developer Sune Alstrup Johansen says the Eye Tribe technology is far more precise.

"Unlike the current mobile face and eye detection solutions, our software is capable of submillimeter pupil tracking, which means it is possible to tell where someone is looking at a screen with an accuracy comparable to the size of your fingertip," Johansen said. (Source:

Potential Cost Issues Not Affecting Corporate Outlook

The only foreseeable problem with Eye Tribe: it may be a challenge to keep costs down. After all, the software uses expensive compact infrared sensors and other sensitive materials. It's also believed the software will eventually require additional hardware add-ons to allow for mass integration with other products. (Source:

Nevertheless, those behind Eye Tribe remain confident that they are on to something. Said Johansen: "What we show is only the tip of the iceberg of what eye control will be used for in applications and games."

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