Apple scored another patent on Tuesday, and this patent could transform the way we utilize technology. The new patent is for visual control technology, which may mean future iPhones and MacBooks may soon track eye movements to control UI elements.
A closer look at Apple’s latest patent
This is a gaze-based control system which incorporates methods to counteract visual effects that occur when a person stares at a fixed space for a length of time. This can trick someone’s eyes into thinking some user interface elements completely vanished. The patent also goes into further details on how the device would use built-in camera equipment to track user eye movement and how those movements relate to onscreen elements. In one example, a cursor would follow the user’s gaze and, in certain instances, translates this to on-screen activities.
The primary purpose of this patent is to flesh out tech aimed directly at countering the problematic Troller Effect, which results in certain user interface elements fading or disappearing when the user stares at a fixed point for too long.
How this technology could improve Apple products
There are some major advantages to adding accessibility improvements to iOS and Mac devices. User interfaces controlled by eye movements would simplify the overall experience and not require users to use their hands or fingers. Such technology could serve as a supplementary control when users have their hands occupied by other on-screen functions or even accessories.
Apple may even use this technology with Apple TV. Last year, the Cupertino-based tech giant bought up PrimeSense, the same company that helped create Microsoft’s original Kinect. There is some speculation Apple could transform Apple TV into a camera-controlled device for the living room. This is a rather interesting move from Apple, especially considering how the company keeps a focus on touch-based controls.