Kinect clip-on NUIA eyeCharm enables eye-tracking for $60

Well on way to $100,000 Kickstarter goal, prospective release August 2013.

Would you like to control your computer with your eyes? Of course you would.

The eye-tracking technology exists, but it's expensive. But if this Kickstarter project for the NUIA eyeCharm is successful, then eye-tracking won't be. That's the whole point.

NUIA eyeCharm costs $60. Plus the cost of Kinect.

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In theory.

Microsoft's Kinect camera is the low-cost ubiquitous infrared camera that makes this an affordable reality. Kinect is the catalyst.

The NUIA eyeCharm clips over the front of Kinect and adds "the necessary optics and special infrared illumination" to decipher where on the screen your eyes are looking.

Kinect for Xbox 360 or PC can be used, although you'll need a USB converter cable for the console version. NUIA eyeCharm, however, is a desktop experience for now. That means sitting at a relatively fixed distance from the screen.

Once kits go out to Kickstarter backers then the developers can get some valuable data about how the device works in the home - and how people want it to.

That $60 bags you a suite of NUIA eyeCharm apps as well as an SDK to make or modify programs or games with.

There's a clip of someone demonstrating Diablo 3 and eye-tracking, although what exactly the eyes are doing is hard to work out. Apparently the eyes do everything and the hands are left open for chatting.

There's another clip of someone playing ArmA 2 and tilting their head to the side and the character doing the same on screen. Minecraft is shown, too, and Vu Bui from Mojang gives a brief soundbite afterwards, saying "it just kind of works".

Here's a clip of NUIA eyeCharm being used with a number of games and applications.

"And for those of us who like to pull a prank should not underestimate the fun," the Kickstarter pitch adds, "in making your friends believe your computer can read your mind, when you control it without any visible input."

The NUIA eyeCharm team needs to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter and is already over a third of the way there. There are 22 days to go.

Should it be successful, and I'm sure it will be, the final release of NUIA eyeCharm is scheduled for 1st August this year.

How the more capable Kinect 2.0 will work with NUIA eyeCharm remains to be seen. Maybe Microsoft will bring eye-tracking on board natively.

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