While Kinect was pretty good before, and we recently got the announcement that Kinect would be made shortly for PC, we also now found out at SXSW that that’s not all the new Kinect is capable of. Thanks to a company called 4titoo (pronounced “42”) it looks like the Kinect will not only allow you to control computers with your various hand motions but with your eye movements as well. How are they doing it? Well, it’s a new device created by 4titoo, which is known as the “eyeCharm”, and it’s a simple device that you can connect, right on top of your Kinect, and use it to control your computer from there.
4titoo is a company based out of Munich, Germany, and they’re allowing people to get this add-on, which they launched right on Kickstarter, for only $50. That’s right, you can go from hand motions, to eye motions, for a measly $50 add-on. You would think Microsoft should’ve thought of it first, but no, they’re once again lacking behind the innovations of random small companies launched off of Kickstarter campaigns. No surprise here.
This however, isn’t 4tittoo’s first venture. They also started a software, that had sort of the same purpose, allowing the computer to see people’s eye movements in such a way that would allow them to interact with their PC, in the same way that one would use a typical mouse. The software suite is called NUIA, and it’s still being used today.
They even showed off countless ways that this new software suite could be used to interact with every day programs that people are already using. One example, showed them using their software to interact with the popular “build your own world” game Minecraft, and another with the infamous mobile game, Angry Birds, both being enhanced by the technology.
So, this begs the question then, if we can already do stuff like this, what’s the point of this new contraption for the Kinect? Well, answered simply, the software suite required some pricey hardware in order to run, and this, will allow Kinect users to use such software, and play such games, for the meager price of the $50 add-on.
It’s amazing how this now changes things for eye-movement interaction with a computer, because now, all you need to do is put this tiny little add-on onto your Kinect, and you have the equivalent of formerly high-cost hardware, such as Tobii (previously used to demonstrate the NUIA suite). Once you clip it onto your Kinect, you can run it right on your computer using either Windows 7 or8, however, it seems to work a bit more smoothly with the Windows 8 user interface.
The next thing on the line-up for 4titoo, is to get going on their next line of eye-tracking apps, which they’ve launched once again, using Kickstarter. They’ve done this to try to fulfill their $100,000 goal, which they’re looking to get to start working on the apps. They managed to score just under $10,000 from backers in less than 48 hours, so, so far, things are looking good. We can only hope that they reach their goal, and are then able to get us some amazing apps. Can’t wait!