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Kome Kami switch controls iPod with one second wink

Posted: 07 Mar 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:infrared sensors; Temple Switch 

A Japanese researcher claims he has developed a system that will soon allow people run their iPods with the flick of an eye.

The Agence France-Presse reported that the system, which comprises a single-chip computer and a couple of infrared sensors, monitors movements of the temple and can be built into the side of a pair of eyeglasses.

Device developer Kazuhiro Taniguchi assured that the "Kome Kami Switch," or "Temple Switch," won't move incorrectly as it picks up signals the user closes his eyes firmly. A researcher at state-run Osaka University's Graduate School of Engineering Science, Taniguchi said the device can easily differentiate a deliberate one-second wink from natural blinking.

The iPod will start when the person closes both is eyes for one second and will stop when the person blinks again. A wink with the right eye commands the iPod to skip to the next tune while a wink in the left eye brings it back.

Taniguchi explained to AFP that compared to people's normal blinking, which is very quick and done lightly, the user needs to close his eyes more firmly to operate a device. He added that for some people who are unable to wink with one eye, they can program the system to give a command when they blink twice in a fast sequence.

The systems can serve as a "third hand" for caregivers, rock-climbers, motorbike drivers, astronauts as well as people with disabilities, since it does not require the use of either hand.

Besides the iPod, the Temple Switch can also operate TV sets, air conditioners, room lighting and other household electronics. Taniguchi hopes the device can eventually be adapted to run cellphones, wheelchairs and robots as "an ultimate remote control" used in everyday life. The research team plans to launch a venture in two to three years to commercialise the device.

Tanaguchi is also working on a system that operates when users clench their teeth.

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