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Is Eye Tracking The Next Step In Controller-Free Video Games?

It’s time to flex those eye muscles because you’ll be using them quite a bit to take down this alien invasion. Implementing creator James Powderly’s Eyewriter technology, originally intended to help give paralyzed graffiti legend Tempt1 the ability to create art again, Rui Pereira has created an eye tracking video game. In shootEm!, eyeballs with human finger appendages crawl across a 3D landscape towards the foreground of the screen. When the player focuses his or her eyes on the menacing creatures, lasers fire across the screen, vaporizing them into piles of pixel dust.

This isn’t the first time the Eyewriter has been used in relation to video games, but it’s a better example of how the device can be used to create an immersive video game experience. Along with this demo, Pereira has also created a game called wordGaze that tracks the amount of time a user’s eyes focus on individual words while reading a passage.

Since these games are only experiments, we’re excited to see how far this technology can be taken and what kind of games eye tracking could possibly give birth to, not to mention other educational or handicapable technologies. And since the Eyewriter is already open source, we hope more designers take this as a clarion call to research and develop applications. With the popularity of controller-free gaming tools like the Kinect, it’s worth speculating what the general interest would be for eye tracking games. We’ll be, ahem, keeping an eye out for any further developments.