The eyes have it!

New typing method developed – just look this way

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By  Graham Stacey Published  August 29, 2002

Researchers from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University have developed software that replaces the standard QWERTY keyboard layout, and allows people with physical disabilities to use their eyes for inputting purposes.
What’s more, they claim that the Dasher software could make typing almost twice as efficient, and more accurate than earlier alternatives. Currently in prototype stages, the software taps into the stare of the eye and makes predictable words and phrases simpler to write.
The letters of the alphabet appear in a single column on the right of the screen, and is framed by a coloured box. As the user looks at a particular letter on the right side of the screen and drags it to the left with their eye, another sub-alphabet column begins to emerge inside the box on the right-hand side, along with more letters framed in coloured boxes. All of which is a bit reminiscent of mobile phone predictive text inputting, but in full colour and (for most users) faster and less frustrating.
Dasher is designed to intelligently anticipate which letter will be needed, so although the successive sub-alphabet columns are initially very small, the letters or combination of letters that simultaneously appear are most likely to be used next in that sequence. The letters then form a sentence. Developers say that the process speeds up over time as Dasher learns from each typing session. Researchers say users will be able to write up to 25 words per minute with Dasher compared to on-screen keyboards, which they say average around 10 words per minute less.
Dasher works with virtually any off-the-shelf camera capable of scanning eye movement – although the user must remain still.

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