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Writing faster with your eyes

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11:01am, August 28, 2002

Eye-tracking technology allows people who are unable to type or manipulate a mouse to use a computer. While a camera captures their eye movements, they can move a cursor with their gaze or type on an on-screen keyboard by staring at individual keys. But darting the eyes around like that can be dizzying, and it's a slow process.

A new gaze-operated text-entry system called Dasher is faster, more accurate, and easier to use than existing systems, say its inventors in the Aug. 22 Nature.

"Eyes didn't evolve to push buttons," says coinventor David J.C. MacKay of the University of Cambridge in England. Rather, eyes are good at searching. Dasher is like a fast-paced video game where the user hunts for letters. Each letter is in a box sized according to the letter's frequency in written English.

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