That annoying trackpad that substitutes for a mouse on most laptops could be history, if a new eye tracking technology from Tobii works as advertised.
I personally dislike trackpads so much, that for over a decade all of my laptops have be IBM or Lenovo ThinkPads with their superior Track Point pointing stick. Lenovo's support of alternative mousing technology made them a natural partner for Tobii and their eye tracking system.
The Lenovo/Tobii prototype laptop is being unveiled this week at the CeBit show in Germany, but the Swedish company offered a sneak peek in New York on Monday. A hump on the back of the case hold two infrared light sources that reflect invisible light off your retinas, then the reflection is picked up by two cameras that can determine where you are looking on the screen. This allows the laptop to do things like determine when you have read to the end of a page, and then scroll down automatically, or in gaming you will be able to target objects by simply looking at them.
Tobii representative Barbara Barclay said that the eye tracking system isn't designed to completely replace a more conventional mouse, but it can make many operations much faster and easier to perform.
The current laptop is a prototype platform to demonstrate the technology, and commercial versions of the system should arrive in about two years.