Literacy Education: Mobile Eye-Tracking Software and Reading Rate

Recently a few stories have been discussing the Samsung Galaxy S IV’s eye-tracking function that allows users to scroll through pages using their eyes. There was some concern raised about the privacy implications of this technology if it did, indeed, track eye movement. However, it appears that such concerns are somewhat unwarranted. Mashable reports that the eye-scrolling feature relies more on “facial recognition and tilt” and can pause video when your head turns away. Eye-tracking this is not–or at least, a very primitive form of eye-tracking.

Eye-Tracking and Reading Research

So it’s a false alarm. But the idea of eye-tracking software is not too far-fetched, as it appears Swedish Tobii may be developing other forms of the technology. The issue of eye tracking could have multiple uses, and at some point someone is going to suggest it can cure reading problems. Eye movement studies in reading date at least back to Huey, almost a hundred years, although thankfully we’ve moved on from the “dark ages” form of reading research. Huey tracked eye movement by placing a “cup” made of plaster of Paris on the cornea (numbing the eye with cocaine to alleviate discomfort) and attaching a thin aluminum “pointer” to the cup, which then transferred the movements to paper. Samsung’s limited eye movement technology just takes your picture.