Microsoft Windows Will Soon Have Eye Tracking Technology

Team of researchers in a conference room at Microsoft discuss Eye Gaze Wheelchair

The Microsoft Enable Research team meets to discuss the Eye Gaze Wheelchair

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced at the company's most recent hackathon that an eye-tracking technology called Eye Control will be integrated into the operating system, in order to make PCs more accessible to people unable to use a mouse and keyboard.

The feature is now only available with select Tobii hardware and on the EN-US keyboard layout, but additional hardware vendors and layouts will be added in future updates.

Borne out of a Microsoft hackathon challenge inspired by former National Football League player Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Eye Control enables disabled users with compatible eye tracker devices to operate Windows 10 PCs through gaze alone.

As for the next version of Windows 10, Microsoft is calling it the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and plans to release it next month, but has yet to reveal an exact arrival date. However, when the first Redstone 4 builds will start to roll out, Fast Ring insiders who opted in to test them will no longer be able to go back to builds from the normal development branch (Redstone 3) without reinstalling Windows 10. This is the ninth build of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is slated to arrive later this year (likely in September).

Other Edge improvements include a new look inspired by Microsoft's Fluent Design System, and several fixes for issues. The Command Prompt is finally receiving a newish look after years of developers asking for a change. 16257 is the latest build of Windows 10 for PCs that accompanies numerous exciting features while the build 15237 for mobile carries some minor bug fixes.

Since the feature was just confirmed a day ago, it is still in the beta phase and for now, it only works with EN-US keyboard layout.

Currently, Microsoft is concentrating on developing and supporting Tobii hardware.

Eye Control displays a launchpad on the screen that you can interact with. This feature will use the default text-to-speech voices, which can be changed in Settings Time & Language Speech Text-to-speech.

"With eye tracking, devices can better understand our intentions, a key ability in creating truly natural human-computer interaction", Oscar Werner, president of Tobii Tech, said in a statement.

If you have used Microsoft Edge before you know that it comes with a very, very annoying selection feature when you select text in the address bar.

WDAG has also received performance improvements, particular to container launch times.

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