Tobii’s TD Pilot brings gaze-based typing, text-to-speech and app navigation to iPad

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Tobii is bringing its eye-tracking technology to the iPad with the TD Pilot, the case for turning Apple’s tablet into a powerful all-in-one tool for people with physical disabilities. Equipped with the TD Pilot, users can launch and use apps, type quickly, and speak with nothing but their gaze with a synthetic voice.

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iPadOS 15 brought native integration of eye-tracking hardware to these popular devices, and Tobii is probably the best-known name in that space. I’ve checked out a lot of their devices, both all-in-one slates and standalone peripherals for PC, and they’ve always worked great. But due to limitations on Apple’s side, eye-tracking has mainly been on Windows machines. I wouldn’t mind, but some people prefer iOS and now they will have the opportunity of equal access to that platform.

image credit: Tobii

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The TD Pilot is a big case that includes eye-tracking gear on the front (which is actually remarkably small – a little stripe with cameras), and the rear houses not only a set of stereo speakers, but also a display of text. There is a small screen for . So a user of the device can communicate via text or audio, either via Toby’s own TD Talk text-to-speech app or any other of their choice. (Not just speeches – they can even become DJs if they want.)

The device comes with access to the rest of Tobii’s smaller suite, along with configuration, symbol-based communication, and everything else.

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“It is clinically certified, and certified to meet Apple’s performance standards,” said Fredrik Ruben, CEO of Tobii Dynavox. “With this, users know they can rely on market-leading technology that will continue to be updated and supported, and they can avoid insecure ‘one-time hacks’ that can be developed for popular technologies. ” No doubt a thinly veiled reference to other eye-tracking solutions for older versions of the OS that didn’t support the feature natively.

Tobii’s eye-tracking devices can be purchased by anyone, but they are often, as the company explained, used by a person’s doctor or therapist as part of a larger set of solutions that meet their individual needs. is determined in. As such it is often covered by insurance, but of course your mileage may vary. I asked for a specific cost but Toby didn’t provide one.

Hopefully for those most empowered by an eye tracking solution, however, insurance or other means will suffice to equip them with this useful gadget. It’s shipping today, so no need to wait.

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