Samsung, a company in the midst of an executive shakeup, has announced Eyecan+, the second generation of an eye-tracking input device the Korean tech firm says it has no intention of commercializing.
After wirelessly calibrating the Eyecan+ to an individual's eye moment, the peripheral enables that person to edit text and navigate web pages using simple combinations of blinks and glances. The Eyecan+ requires no glasses or any other complementary devices, making the peripheral a promising piece of equipment for individuals that live with disabilities.
Users need only position themselves about two or three feet away from a monitor connected with the Eyecan+. The angle the users hold his or her head doesn't matter and Eyecan+ only need to be calibrated once if the same person continues to use the peripheral. The Eyecan+ is a portable box that sits below the monitor.
To use Eyecan+, the user simply looks at the icon or button he or she would like to manipulate. Some of the 18 commands that can be executed via Eyecan+'s user interface include copy, paste, select all, drag and drop, scroll, zoom in, close program and print.
Samsung says it intends to donate Eyecan+ products to charitable organizations, and to make the product and design open source, but it doesn't plan on taking the peripheral to market. The product is an iteration on the 2012 version of the Eyecan.
Hyung-Jin Shin, a graduate student in computer science at Yonsei University in Seoul, helped to push Eyecan forward into its current state. Shin, who was born a quadriplegic, began working on the Eyecan in 2011 and poured 17 months of work into the project.
"Eyecan+ is the result of a voluntary project initiated by our engineers, and reflects their passion and commitment to engage more people in our community," said SiJeong Cho, VP of community relations at Samsung Electronics.
Though Samsung isn't seeking to market the niche product, the company is getting more aggressive in efforts to spur revenue. Samsung insiders have indicated an executive shakeup is looming, as the Korean company's market value slips.
Apple fans are extremely loyal, which means Samsung has has to be a step or two ahead of its iOS rival, according to Steven Kantorowitz, president of Samsung partner CelPro Associates.
"Because the Apple world has such loyalty there, Samsung has to crush them with each release," says Kantorowitz. "They can't just innovate a little bit. They have to be two steps ahead with their new releases."