For people with limited mobility, a pair of glasses might help them regain some autonomy.
Engineers recently developed a new pair of glasses that can detect blinks, allowing users to do things like type or turn on lights without using their hands.
The glasses carry sensors to sort out deliberate blinks from natural ones. With a computer, for example, a wearer can blink to control a cursor that moves through a pattern to type out a message.
Eye-controlled computer interfaces have been used in the past to assist those with limited mobility. One team of engineers developed a wheelchair controlled by eye movements. Another created an eye-controlled virtual keyboard.
But past systems weren't as reliable for detecting blinks: Sometimes they would unintentionally read other facial motions as triggers to do a certain task.
Interfaces are improving, though. The team hopes the design will inspire future applications for assistive technology, like touch or pressure-activated devices.