Well, this was coming anyway.
A free app called LookAway from the App Store does precisely what Samsung's new smartphone (the Galaxy S4 with its eye-tracking features) does. It does a ‘Smart Pause' where you can pause the video just by looking away from the iPhone.
When Samsung debuted the Galaxy S4, one particular feature that stood out was the eye-tracking ability. Besides eating up a lot of battery, the feature also allows you to pause the video without having to touch the interface. No buttons, no taps. Just look away from the video and it gets paused automatically.
The key tech behind this is the camera sensor. The front-camera tracks your face and eyes.
LookAway, available on the App Store, does pretty much the same thing. We just tried it and for a new tech, it's pretty good and impressive.
The app lets you pick YouTube videos. You can search or pick the trending videos. You can also, optionally, turn off vision control (the main switch to enable/disable the smart-pause).
Cube26, the company behind the app, has been involved in eye-tracking tech for a long time. This company has been working on this tech – I guess – even before Samsung planned to get such features onto its smartphones. Folks from Cube26 have been covered by leading startup/tech blogs like TechCrunch and PandoDaily.
The app as such provides you a few interesting features. It has two functions:
- Mute through a ‘Shhh' gesture
- Look away from the screen to pause the camera
You can control the sensitivity on both these features based on how the app responds.
The app doesn't do the smart-scroll but the fact that you can replicated the smart-pause feature on iPhone is just amazing. The company has been working on a lot of related software that uses eye-tracking and gesture-based controls to an all-new level. I think Apple should be taking a closer look at the work done by Cube26 if it wants to stay ahead or leap-frog now that Samsung has beat them to it.
The company's got some pretty strong projects going on, all based on gesture and tracking tech.
LockAway works on iPhone 4 and above, iPad 2 and more running iOS 6.x. It's free.