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Shopping On eBay Made Easier With iPhone X: Buy Stuff By Moving Your Head

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A team from eBay created HeadGaze, which is technology that allows iPhone X owners to buy things online using only head movements. The software may be fully appreciated by knowing the true purpose behind its development.  ( eBay )

Shopping on eBay for iPhone X owners just got much easier, as the e-commerce company created a tool that will allow customers to buy things by moving their head.

Called eBay HeadGaze, the technology uses the iPhone X camera and Apple's ARKit. The tool shows that, with the right amount of creativity, current technology can be fashioned to carry out new applications.

eBay HeadGaze: Here's How It Works

eBay revealed HeadGaze through an official blog post, describing the augmented reality software as the first of its kind in combining Apple's ARKit and the iPhone X camera to track head movements and translate that to smartphone navigation commands.

The ARKit creates a "virtual stylus" that follows the user's head motions to move the cursor toward scroll bars and other buttons. To click, the user will need to keep the cursor on one spot for a specific length of time.

To test the HeadGaze technology, the team also developed the HeadSwipe app, which is focused on looking through and purchasing products on the deals section of eBay. The app can be navigated entirely using head movements on the iPhone X.

For those who think the technology seems familiar, that is because it functions similarly to the eye-tracking system in the crowdsourced but canceled ZTE Hawkeye. After head-tracking, eye-tracking will be the next focus for the software's creators to open up even more possibilities.

The True Purpose Of HeadGaze

While HeadGaze and HeadSwipe look like another step toward making the world dangerously convenient, the technology can be fully appreciated by knowing its true purpose from its creator.

HeadGaze was created by a team led by eBay intern Muratcan Cicek. Cicek, who is also a University of California, Santa Cruz PhD candidate, suffers from extensive motor impairments, so he does not have complete control over his limbs.

The purpose of HeadGaze is to help people such as Cicek, who are hindered from performing daily tasks. The technology may currently be used to shop on eBay, but many more applications can be derived from it. For example, HeadGaze will allow bakers to scroll through recipes without needing to touch their smartphone's screen using their dirty fingers. The technology can also be used to navigate apps if it is too cold for users to remove their gloves.

HeadGaze and HeadSwipe are open sourced and available on GitHub.com. The technology will likely also be available for the iPhone X successors, namely the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus.

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