There's no doubt eye-tracking is going to become mainstream (we declared Tobii's eye-tracking sensor the best thing of CES 2012) over the next few years. And when it does arrive, it's going to be very expensive; Tobii's dev kit will sell for almost $1,000. 4tiitoo's NUIA eyeCharm kit could make owning an eye-tracking sensor more affordable by selling the vital components as an add-on for Microsoft's Kinect sensor.
According to its Kickstarter campaign page, the eyeCharm is a plug and play device that snaps onto any Kinect (Xbox 360 or Windows) and adds eye-tracking controls in under 10 minutes. The eyeCharm kit works by sending out a beam of infrared light at a user's face. Its infrared cameras then capture a person's eye movements and translates them into instructions.
Some prime examples for eye-tracking use include: scrolling websites, flipping through photo galleries, and even playing games like Diablo.
If the eyeCharm works as well as a Tobii accessory, it could undercut it with its lower price. Of course, it's also widely rumored Microsoft is planning to launch a "Kinect 2" with advanced gesture tracking and possibly eye-tracking functionality alongside the next Xbox, so it may be wise to wait.
Unlike most Kickstarter projects that simply sell the final unit, 4tiitoo is offering the eyeCharm in two ways. The first option involves pledging $42 to get the 3D files (to print out the design using a 3D printer) and a shipment with all the components that can't be printed. And the second option involves pledging $60 ($50 for early birds) to get the fully-assembled eyeCharm. Doing the math, buying an eyeCharm ($60) and a Kinect ($100) would come out to only $160, which is far less than what Tobii's solution is expected to cost.
As of this writing, the eyeCharm project has collected over $25,500 dollars from over 370 backers. The project will be funded once it reaches $100,000 within the next 24 days.