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Text 2.0
June 17, 2010 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Using eye tracking software, text can respond to your gaze.
posted by phrontist (18 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat. Is there a way to effectively prevent marketing people from getting their hands on this technology?
posted by quadog at 5:24 PM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


And now we see the real reason for the front facing camera on the iPhone
posted by jpdoane at 5:29 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm getting carpal tunnel vision just thinking about it.
posted by theredpen at 5:32 PM on June 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


In Soviet Russia, books read you!
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:34 PM on June 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Uh, I have this thing called a mouse...

Some of it's cool, but initiating commands/actions using that system sounds frustrating.
posted by Netzapper at 5:36 PM on June 17, 2010


quadog: I think marketing getting ther hands on this may be what finally tips us into the Butlerian Jihad.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:41 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, I have this thing called a mouse...

And, I'm guessing, something called a hand? Not everyone is so lucky.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:42 PM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Netzapper: “Some of it's cool, but initiating commands/actions using that system sounds frustrating.”

Yeah, that would be really unfortunate. [ROLL EYES TO SEE MORE] Thankfully, it doesn't sound like anybody's trying to do that. It sounds like they're sort of trying to use it as a sort of ambient contextual helper with text.

quadog: “Neat. Is there a way to effectively prevent marketing people from getting their hands on this technology?”

Well, it seems like this is technology in search of an idea, to be honest. I think it's nice that they're trying to apply it to reading, but it seems like there are a lot of other uses for a device that can sense eye movement; guiding people through web pages, etc. (Although of course for that we'd have to get to the stage where (a) these "eye trackers" or whatever they're using can be replaced by a good scripting of a webcam and (b) webcam feeds are consistently available to web sites to use as data.)

Personally, while I think it's noble that they want to apply this newfound knowledge to reading and learning, I can see it working perhaps for reference books and such (a lectern with a dictionary that did this at the library would be awesome) but I can't imagine reading being any good like this. People have this idea that it'll be more fun to read if you shove all kinds of stuff all over the page, but in fact a person just gets quite distracted. It may seem useful to make all of those things available at the tilt of your eyeballs, but I don't want my book trying to guess when I'm confused about something, or when I'm just skimming, or whatever else I'm doing. I like books because they're static, and if my book could do all of these things, I would be so distracted that I'd never actually get any reading done.

But then, I have a strong case of ADD, so I'm probably biased.

Either way, this is neat, and I'm glad they're trying to do something good with it.
posted by koeselitz at 5:53 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of those things that is only cool if it's you doing it. Which makes the demo pretty underwhelming.
posted by smackfu at 5:55 PM on June 17, 2010


Wow, mix this with an adblocker and you got the movie They Live.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:58 PM on June 17, 2010


Isn;t there a throw-away line in Snow Crash or something about someone who got malware stuck in his eye implants and had spam in vision for so long he killed himself?
posted by The Whelk at 6:00 PM on June 17, 2010


I can tell this is serious and scientific because all of human history is "Text 1.0" and this is MINDBLOWINGLY REVOLUTIONARY!!11
posted by DU at 6:05 PM on June 17, 2010


As a marketer... uggh. One more level to the crap arms race.

Neat. Is there a way to effectively prevent marketing people from getting their hands on this technology?

Nope. You can look forward to this, as it prepares to look downward upon you.
posted by darth_tedious at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2010


Ah. So :hover might not be dead.
posted by weston at 6:40 PM on June 17, 2010


Neat. Is there a way to effectively prevent marketing people from getting their hands on this technology?

This technology largely did come from marketing. HP had an R&D team working on this as late as November 2007, but from what I remember they did not find any real world interest in it.

Their product mockup was for video ads inside malls, and it could track how many people looked at it, for how long, and I think it was even capable of making decent guesses about the age and gender of the person. They also hoped it would be useful to create large, interactive video walls.

(former intern)
posted by parhamr at 8:00 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, this seems like an overt attempt at manipulating meaning. Or at the very least, a clumsy intrusion upon it. To indicate, or gesticulate, in this manner, and by using the eyes of all things, presents a decoupling of real intent via the senses.

It's not to hard to see is it?

The intent of the author, no matter how clumsy or graceful, yields the dynamic imperative to interpret the text. Well what of the text anyways? Perhaps the author of the document should focus on the dynamic imperative of the text itself.

But maybe this is the point, meaning becomes "faster", cheapened, elevated to the level of reflex and sensation. If we seek the value this invention will add to our reading experiences, we must also calculate the eventual repercussions as well: as always, hidden in a miasma of impulse.

Ever the discourse becomes quicker,
It is the skin of Empire,
stretched tight over the bones of a nation
posted by kuatto at 8:05 PM on June 17, 2010


a throw-away line in Snow Crash

Reminds me more of Diamond Age than Snow Crash.
posted by crunchland at 8:24 PM on June 17, 2010


As implied above by Sys Req, eye tracking is useful for people without arms or otherwise the ability to move a mouse (e.g. Thalidomide-related conditions).

Shameless plug: in a related technology we do a free face-tracker, so you can use a webcam to let you move your head and control the mouse. Windows only.
FaceMouse
posted by alasdair at 12:53 AM on June 18, 2010


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