Apple was granted a patent on Tuesday for an eye-tracking technology that could end up being used in future iOS devices, Mac computers, or even the Apple TV.
The patent, first discovered by Apple Insider, details a graphical user interface that actively tracks where you’re looking, allowing users to control an onscreen input or mouse cursor with just their gaze.
The patent’s main focus, however, is on preventing a common eye-tracking issue called the
Troxler Effect, a phenomenon which can cause onscreen objects that are stationary to look like they’re disappearing. You can see an example below of a stabilised image and the Troxler Effect in action: Try staring at the cursor in the center and you should notice the purple dots fade away after a few seconds.
To combat this potential issue, Apple’s newest patent details multiple ways to detect eye movements, blinking, and physical distance from a display. All of these methods can work together to help the graphical user interface respond in a way that prevent important details onscreen from fading away.
In the patent, Apple mentions the possibility of the eye-tracking technology being used in both iOS devices and Mac computers, but it’s also not hard to imagine this cropping up in future Apple TVs. Then again, Apple and other tech companies own plenty of patents describing technologies that never end up in consumer devices, so don’t expect an eye-tracking iPhone just yet.
You can take a look at the full patent, which was originally filed in 2012, right here.
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