What started out as a 2014 hackathon project is finally turning into an actual Windows 10 feature with the preview build release of an Eye Control beta for Insider users. The development has focused on helping those suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, to be able to communicate and interact with the world again.
Eye Control, which is part of Windows 10 build 16257 for PC, requires a $149 piece of hardware called the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. The latest blog post from Windows software engineer Dona Sorkar said the new software makes the previously mouse-and-keyboard-dependent operating system available to anyone who is unable to move or communicate. Right now, the layout for US keyboards, but the development team is looking to expand that in the future.
The new software has options for shape-writing, which lets users swipe to letters as opposed to just touch typing, and text to speech. There are various customization options to make it even more comfortable and easy for users.
Since this is a beta build, it does have a few known issues, such as the inability to accurately work in direct sunlight, and the launchpad blocking the Tobii UI during device calibration, but the dev team hopes to iron these issues out before the update makes it to the Windows 10 update for all users later this fall.
The release of Eye Control is a culmination of effort from the winners of the 2014 One Week hackathon for Microsoft employees that created a wheelchair that could be controlled with just eye movement.