CES: Motion control tech powered by your eyes

It's like Kinect, but instead of dancing around and using your whole body to control a game, you just look around. The guys at Waterloo Labs showed us how their very preliminary technology works with a prototype they brought to CES.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg

LAS VEGAS--First came remote controls, then systems like Kinect, where you use your body as a remote control. The next advancement in motion control tech doesn't require you to move much at all, with the exception of an eye muscle or two.

Today at CES, I got a demo of a very early but still interesting prototype that uses the motion of your eyeballs to control things on a screen. The technology was built just in the last few months and demonstrated here by Hunter Smith and Christopher Culver from Waterloo Labs, a research group within National Instruments.

For the demo, a few electrodes were attached to the skin around Culver's eye, which were then attached to a motherboard that communicated with the TV. The fun part, the motion control with your eyes, relies on the fact that your eyes are polarized, said Smith. "With positive in the front and negative in the back, so your eyes actually create voltages," he said.

When you look left it creates a certain voltage, and when you looks right, up, or down, also different voltages, he added.

They wrote some simple video games just to demo the software. The first one is sort of Dance Dance Revolution-esque, but instead of dancing, you just move your eyes around. They say it's not in any way intended to be a commercialized game, just to demonstrate how this all works.

Here's their demonstration in a quick video--apologies in advance for the quality of the camera work.