It was only yesterday that Microsoft announced a new built-in eye tracking feature for Windows 10, but the company is already interested in getting the accessibility option out in the wild. The latest Windows Insider preview build includes support for a beta version of Eye Control, as it’s called, so long as you have the compatible Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. To start, Microsoft is supporting only the US English language keyboard layout, with plans to add more layouts down the line. It’s still unclear when Eye Control will arrive as a fully baked feature, but it’s clear Microsoft is moving quickly.
The preview build blog post outlines in more depth how Eye Control actually works, with a breakdown of the new launchpad for accessing the peripheral functions and examples of using the system to type more quickly with your eyes and translate text into speech.
One really neat feature is what Microsoft calls “shape writing,” which should speed up typing by letting you look at just the first and last letters of a word and “simply glancing at letters in between.” Microsoft says a “hint of the word predicted will appear on the last key of the word,” and if the prediction is incorrect, you can swap it out with another predicted alternative.
Right now, Microsoft is only focused on supporting Tobii hardware, with plans to bring the Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini, PCEyePlus, EyeMobile Plus, and I-series onboard for Eye Control on Windows 10. However, the company says it’s interested in working with other hardware makers should any other eye-tracking vendor express interest.