To some Samsung Galaxy S4 users, this might sound familiar. That's because, as AppleInsider notes in its post on GDT, "Such functionality is now being touted by Samsung as a major feature of its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. Dubbed 'Smart Scroll' the system operates in much the same way as Apple's invention, using the device's front-facing camera to track a user's eye movement to dim the screen and pause media. Samsung's implementation goes further, however, and includes webpage and email scrolling functionality."
So how well has this Major Feature been implemented? You can get a sense from this YouTube video posted by HighOnAndroid.com. The overall effect, despite the demonstrator's enthusiasm, is underwhelming. Just watching him gave us a headache.
At TalkAndroid, Robert Nazarian has a video demo on how to set up Smart Scroll and Smart Pause on your new S4. On Smart Pause: "It's pretty nifty when it works, but I found that it's very dependent on light. You can forget it working in the dark, but I found it didn't want to work in average light either." On Smart Scroll: "This one is pretty spotty as well depending on how you set it up."
We anticipate the obvious objection: "But Apple will do this way, way better!" Undoubtedly. But one can only hope that the company doesn't waste it's time and money on Gaze Detection Technology and instead focuses on something really worthwhile, like Telepathic Detection Technology.
And let's not ignore the Privacy Concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union on this emerging technology. Sure it's "clever," says Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, in a blog post. But.
He quotes UCLA electrical engineering professor John Villasenor's worries: "Once the technology for eye-tracking is in place, it will glean information conveying not only what we read online, but also how we read it. Did our eyes linger for a few seconds on an advertisement that, in the end, we decided not to click on? How do our eyes move as they take in the contents of a page? Are there certain words, phrases, or topics that we appear to prefer or avoid? In the future, will we be served online ads based not only on what we've shopped for, but also on the thoughts reflected in our eye movements?"
Mind reading via eye reading.
"[W]e could see the technology become a standard part of an analytics toolbox plugged in to every surveillance camera fixed on the public," warns Stanley. "And regardless of how much of the above ever comes to pass, it's yet another reminder of the huge wave of privacy-invading technology that is headed our way, and of our need to get ready for that."
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