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eBay’s new technology – ‘HeadGaze’ allows physically impaired users to interact with their iPhone X screen through head movements.

HeadGaze was developed by eBay’s computer vision team and a team of eBay interns led by Muratcan Cicek. Cicek is a software engineer and PhD student who uses assistive technology as an aid for his motor impairment disability. Leveraging Apple’s ARKit platform and the iPhone X’s TrueDepth front-facing camera, HeadGaze allows applications to track user’s head motions for guiding the on-screen cursor.

This technology isn’t available on eBay yet. However, the underlying technology is available on GitHub for general use.

How does HeadGaze work?

This augmented reality software includes a virtual stylus that follows the user’s head motions to move the cursor toward scrollbars and other interactive buttons. Head motions are tracked using the 3D sensors in the TrueDepth camera, which is the same hardware that enables Apple’s Face ID unlock feature. This helps users to transmit input commands by subtle head movements. For example, to register a click, the technology will detect how long the cursor has been in one spot and then triggers the desired action. Head-based controls and the new UI widgets implemented by the device makes hands-free interactions easy.

The team has put this technology to test by developing the HeadSwipe app (also open-sourced via HeadGaze). This app allows users to swipe deals on eBay with the help of different head movements. Users can scroll through various pages on the app, browse deals, buy items and so on, without having to use finger movements.

Similar to Google’s “wheelchair accessible” routes to transit navigation in Google Maps, HeadGaze is trying to impact the lives of millions of people worldwide by open sourcing its source code. This idea can be broadened to many disciplines- imagine having to take an urgent call while your hands are occupied or scroll through the Map while driving your car. The possibilities of this tech appear to be limitless. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this technology takes the market by storm!

To read an in-depth coverage on the workings of this software, head over to eBay’s official blog.

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