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This iPhone App Makes Web Navigation Truly Hands-Free…

eBay’s HeadGaze technology makes mobile device applications accessible to people who can’t operate a traditional mouse, keyboard, or touch screen. Its software taps into augmented reality features built into Apple’s iPhone X, tracking users’ head movements through the phone’s camera and offering a digital cursor for clicking, turning pages, and scrolling. eBay came up with the idea after joining Partnership on AI, a consortium of tech companies interested in finding new ways to apply AI technologies to improve people’s lives. The initial prototype, an overlay for existing web pages, debuted in September 2018 after four months of tinkering, much of it led by programming intern Muratcan Cicek, who has motor-control issues. eBay open-sourced the software’s blueprints on GitHub so other programmers could build the interface into their sites. “We didn’t want such a good thing to wait,” says Robinson Piramuthu, eBay’s chief scientist for computer vision. That opens up opportunities for companies to target anyone whose hands are so covered up, greasy, or preoccupied that they can’t use their fingers. “The potential is huge— not just for commerce, just in general,” he says.


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