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Mice may face extinction in the future

The mouse, like many of its technical counterparts, may become obsolete one day.

Thanks to Swedish based Tobii Technology, that day may be appearing on the horizon sooner than we think.

The maker of eye-tracking hardware and software has created a mouse that's not really a mouse, but just a cursor that's controlled by eye movements.

The cursor responds to "dwell time," or the length of time someone looks at an object on the screen. In other words, the cursor will highlight whatever object the user rests their gaze on.

Selections are made by pressing keys on the keyboard that have been redefined as right and left mouse keys.

"If I press on a special redefined key while looking at a folder, the mouse selects that folder and opens it for me," said Tobii executive vice-president, John Elvesjo, who said he uses this eye-controlled mouse on his own computer at home.

The eye-controlled mouse prototype was unveiled earlier this week at Siggraph in Boston.

Tobii General Manager Nico Vroom said the audience responded positively.

"What they specifically found interesting is if you open a document and are reading it, it scrolls automatically," he said.

The cursor is enabled with Tobii's eye-tracking software--technology that tracks an individual's eye movements across a computer screen. It's most often used in Web research and to create tools that give greater computer access to people with disabilities.

The mouse is still in the project phase, but company executives said they were seriously looking into it as a product for the future.