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Future Apple devices may allow you to select a text input field with your eyes

The graphic illustrates an interface on a single display for selecting a text input field using an eye gaze.

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,314,396) that would allow users to select a text input field by simply gazing at it.

About the patent

In the patent, Apple notes that conventional electronic devices use input mechanisms, such as keyboards, buttons, joysticks, and touch-screens, to receive inputs from a user. Some conventional devices also include a screen that displays content responsive to a user’s input. Such input mechanisms and displays provide an interface for the user to interact with an electronic device. 

Apple says the techniques described in the patent provide a more natural and efficient interface by allowing a user to operate a device using primarily eye gazes and eye gestures (e.g., eye movement, blinks, and stares). 

Techniques are also described for using eye gaze to quickly designate an initial position (e.g., for selecting or placing an object) and then moving the designated position without using eye gaze. Why? “Precisely locating the designated position can be difficult using eye gaze due to uncertainty and instability of the position of a user’s eye gaze,” according to Apple. 

Summary of the patent 

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with technical details: “In an exemplary process for selecting a text input field using an eye gaze, a graphical object including the text input field is displayed. The text input field is associated with one or more respective locations on one or more displays. Characteristics of an eye gaze are determined using gaze sensors, and a gaze location is determined using the characteristics. Input is received from an input device corresponding to one or more text characters. 

If the gaze location corresponds to the one or more respective locations, then the one or more text characters are displayed in the text input field. If the gaze location does not correspond to the one or more respective locations, then the one or more text characters are not displayed in the text input field.”

the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.
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