Windows 10 will include built-in eye tracking support and an experience called Eye Control, inspired from the winning Microsoft hackathon project in 2014.
Eye Control empowers people with disabilities to use a compatible eye tracker to operate an on-screen mouse, keyboard and text-to-speech experience in Windows 10 using only their eyes.
“Having Eye Control in Windows 10 continues to bridge the gap between widely used technology and people with disabilities. It’s simply liberating,” says former NFL athlete Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s).
Three years ago, Gleason challenged Microsoft to help him during its inaugural One Week Hackathon. ALS has robbed him of his ability to speak, move so much as a finger or breathe without a respirator.
During the hackathon, employees who made up the Ability Eye Gaze team developed the Eye Gaze Wheelchair, which allowed Gleason to drive his wheelchair using only the movement of his eyes as he looked at controls on his Surface device.
The project was received so enthusiastically by employees and the ALS community that a new Microsoft Research team was created to understand the potential of eye-tracking technology.
“When I approached Microsoft three years ago, I asked them to help develop innovative technology programs that would allow people with disabilities to stay productive and purposeful,” he says. “They agreed without hesitation. At that time, I had no idea they would continue expanding access throughout all of Windows 10.”
To learn more, visit the Microsoft Accessibility Blog.
Microsoft News Center Staff