Eye-tracker lets you get location information by staring

A system from South Korea that delivers coordinates through eye motion is one of a number of tidbits at ISSCC.

Tech Culture

Someday soon, you might be able to figure out where you are in the world by staring.

Researchers from South Korea's Yonsei University will present a paper at the International Solid State Circuits Conference next week on a system that spits out two-dimensional coordinates for the object or place that a person is focusing on. The same group has worked on several eye interfaces in the past, mostly for people with disabilities. By integrating eye interfaces with GPS information, users can apparently get geographic information. The group presents its paper on Monday, February 3.

ISSCC is one of the premier events in the chip design world. Every year, large companies and universities gather to show off products or concepts that will come to the market in the next few months or years. ISSCC firsts include the first papers on Cell processors (2005); digital signal processors or DSPs (Bell Labs, 1980); RISC chips (UC Berkeley, Stanford, 1984); 100MHz processors (Intel, 1991); and 1GHz processors (Digital; Intel, 2000).

Although sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, the conference takes place in San Francisco. (The computer business was centered in Philadelphia when ISSCC got started.) Other conference highlights for next week include:

IBM will discuss a version of the Cell processor made on the 45-nanometer process that consumes 40 percent less power and 36 percent less space than current versions. IBM, along with Toshiba and Sony, is trying to percolate the Cell into the market. Right now, the vast majority of Cell chips are used in the PlayStation 3.

Jeff Hawkins, of Palm fame, will show up Monday morning to talk about Hierarchical Temporal Memory, or storing memories in computers the way brains do. His start-up, Numenta, focuses on this.

Intel will describe a low-power chip that uses an in-order execution pipeline, a design concept that Intel hasn't used in its mainstream chips for years. It will also show off an Itanium with 2 billion--count 'em, 2 billion--transistors.

NTT, the Japanese telecom giant, will show off a fingerprint reader that can differentiate between a real and a fake finger.

Future Waves from the U.K. will describe a wireless body network for monitoring vital signs. It's a disposable system for the last meter problem in body sensor networks, the company says. Right afterward, Massachusetts General Hospital will describe a portable MRI machine. (Other health sessions include updates on brain implant research from Brown University and an artificial pancreas from Medtronic.)

Infineon has a paper titled "UMB Fast Hopping Frequency Generation Based on Sub Harmonic Injection Locking" that will come out during the "UWB Potpourri" session on Monday, while the University of Freiberg will present a paper on "A Continuous Time Hexagonal Field Programmable Analog Array."

Just in case you were wondering.

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