The Tobii PCEye Go is a peripheral eye tracker that enhances computer accessibility with the speed, power and accuracy of gaze interaction. The device replaces the standard mouse, allowing you to navigate and control a desktop or laptop computer using only your eyes. www.tobii.com
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Tobii PCEye Go set up on the Windows Surface tablet. Eye gaze technology is amazing and from what I can tell Tobii is top notch. Setting up the device was very easy and I found short training videos on the website should I have needed help. Calibration took a few minutes and I had a tough time getting my head in the right position. The directions on the screen helped walk me through how to improve my position and get the best positioning. As a person without any mobility issues I found it difficult to keep my head still and only move my eyes. The more I used the Tobii PCEye Go the easier this got. After I calibrated the system I was able to try it out. I was so proud of myself, kind of giddy in fact, when I got it to work. The first skill I mastered was switching from the desktop to Windows 8. Then, with practice, I was able to open the weather app and scroll from left to right and back again. Again, I was a little giddy. All of the control icons appear on either the left or right hand side of the screen. The icons which are shown, as well as, the speed in which the tracking is registered can all be adjusted in the settings. The implications of this technology for individuals with disabilities is astounding to me. It has the potential to make new opportunities attainable. By working with the Tobii on and off over the period of two weeks, I learned a few things. The first think I realized is eye gaze technology is cognitively demanding. It wasn’t the way I was used to accessing the computer therefore I needed to think about every move I was making. I needed to deliberately look at and away from certain icons on the screen. I also found that the longer I worked with the Tobii PCEye Go the more fatigued my eyes got. My accuracy declined over short periods of use instead of improving. Every time I would come back to the Tobii PCEye Go my accuracy would be adequate again. I also never quite mastered the keyboard. I was able to call the keyboard up and I was able to type on it, just never exactly what I was trying to type. I’m sure with more practice and additional tweaking of the settings I would be able to become proficient. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share this technology with people who can truly benefit from all it has to offer.