Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it’s building the ability to control Windows 10 with your eyes into the OS with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Windows 10’s Eye Control feature was initially developed as a hackathon project back in 2014 but it’s now going to make its way into millions of devices powered by the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Microsoft released the first ever beta of Eye Control with the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview yesterday, and it has now detailed how users can control Windows with just their eyes.
With Eye Control enabled, users will see the Eye Control Launchpad which will let them access the most important things like the eye-controlled mouse, and more. Here’s how all of the Eye Control features, and the interaction model work:
- Eye Control launchpad – When you turn on Eye Control, the launchpad will appear on the screen. This allows you to access the mouse, keyboard, text-to-speech, and to reposition the UI to the opposite side of the screen.
- Eye Control interaction model – To interact with the UI for Eye Control, simply look at the UI with your eyes until the button activates. A visual affordance will appear around the UI that you are looking at.
- Eye Control mouse – To control the mouse, select the mouse from the launchpad, position your eyes on the screen where you want the cursor to be placed, fine tune the position, and select what action you want to take (left click, double left click, right click, or cancel).
- Eye Control keyboard – To use the keyboard, select the keyboard from the launchpad, and dwell at the characters you want to type. You can type numbers and symbols on the &123 page and function keys on the Fn page. We currently support the EN-US keyboard layout.
- Eye Control shape-writing – Type faster with your eyes by shape-writing on the Eye Control keyboard. To use shape writing, turn it on from the keyboard settings (found on the Fn page). Once it is on, you can form words by dwelling at the first and last character of the word, and simply glancing at letters in between. A hint of the word predicted will appear on the last key of the word. If the prediction was incorrect, you can simply select an alternative prediction provided.
- Eye Control text-to-speech – Communicate with your family and friends in person by using text-to-speech. To use text-to-speech, select text-to-speech from the launchpad. From here, you can use the keyboard to type sentences and have it spoken aloud. At the top are phrases that are spoken aloud immediately and can be edited to say different words. This uses the default text-to-speech voices, which can be changed in Settings > Time & Language > Speech > Text-to-speech.
- Eye Control settings – Access settings from the Fn keyboard page to adjust the dwell times, turn on/off shape-writing, and turn on/off the gaze cursor used to test hardware calibration.
Just as a reminder, you will need to have special hardware to be able to use Eye Control in Windows 10. The feature only supports the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C for now, but Microsoft plan on adding support for other Tobii eye-tracking hardware in the future.