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January 02, 2013

Tobii REX Makes Keeping an Eye on Windows 8 a Lot Easier

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Tobii has been making overtures in the field of eye-tracking motion controls for some time now, since way back in 2010, but while Tobii's overtures haven't exactly made them as ubiquitous as, say, Microsoft (News - Alert) or Logitech, they are making some interesting strides. This year, Tobii is set to introduce the REX, a simple, easy-to-use device that will make Tobii's Gaze UI a lot more accessible for regular users.

Tobii's REX is a simple USB device about the size of a pen that plugs into a device and, in turn, allows users to use the Gaze UI with their computers. With the REX in place, users can navigate among icons, zoom in on pictures or text, select and scroll their way through a large part of the monitor's real estate. Though this may sound like Tobii's earlier release of PCEye back in 2011, the REX has a notable flaw in that it doesn't work as "assistive" technology, meaning that even with a REX in play, users will still need mouse and trackpad alike on hand to do all the jobs a computer can do.

Pricing on the REX is still somewhat unclear, as are full release dates, but Tobii has announced plans to have fully 5,000 units available for sale to customers by the end of 2013. Developers, meanwhile, can get their hands on a special version for $995, available now.

Tobii's technology has always been at least somewhat interesting; it's hard to resist the idea of being able to shut a window by, say, looking at that big red X and blinking twice in rapid succession without ever having to touch a mouse. But Tobii technology has also been pricey; the earliest versions of their PCEye, for example, were at one point reportedly selling for nearly $7000. It takes a whole lot of cool factor to expect people to buy a peripheral that's selling for about the same amount of money as a good quality used SUV.

If the REX can come into mass markets for at most what the developers are paying, however, it might be a very good sign that Tobii's finally getting economies of scale down to the point where they can offer this kind of impressive if unnecessary technology for a decent price. If they can do that, there's a lot better chance of them making not only store shelves, but also computer desks everywhere.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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