"iGaze" is Here! Introducing Skyle Eye Gaze for iPad

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"iGaze" is Here! Introducing Skyle Eye Gaze for iPad

With the new access features in iOS which included flexibility in pointing control, eye gaze is now possible for the iPad.

The new Skyle eye gaze camera and case for the iPad Pro is coming soon and we are already taking pre-orders. We expect it to arrive on our shores sometime in February-March.

Developers knew that for a few years now, the iPad Pro had the computing oomph to be able to handle eye gaze. The critical limitation was in iOS: Apple did not provide the hooks for external pointing control.

With the latest iOS options that arrived in the fall of 2019, iPads can now accept alternatives to touch for direct cursor control. While switch accessibility and voice output have been available for years in iOS, the new iPad update delivered connectivity to most USB devices via a simple and inexpensive lightening to USB adapter. This included joysticks, trackballs, headmice and more (we wrote about that in a previous blog post here).

  

Skyle -- the first AT eye gaze solution for the iPad

Skyle consists of an eye gaze camera and software/app, inside a case that wraps around an iPad Pro 12.9".  The camera is powered by the iPad Pro (no additional power source is necessary) and the case is ready for Daessy and REHAdapt  mounting systems There is a switch port and Skyle should be able to work any app that runs on an iPad.

We at Bridges haven’t had a chance to try out Skyle yet. We’re hoping to at the ATIA (Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference in Orlando at the end of this month.

This is early days for iPad eye gaze, so AT folks use to supporting eye gaze systems should temper their expectations.

 

iPad vs. Windows.... Again

 What we have been able to glean from our sources, is that we shouldn’t expect the same level of functionality as we do in mature Windows based camera systems. This is hardly surprising considering how new eye tracking is for the iPad ecosystem and how sophisticated eye gaze technology for Windows – both hardware and software -- has become.

The retail price of $3995 for the software, camera, and case, is quite a bit higher than Windows based kits. While a 12.9” iPad Pro – the only kind of iPad compatible with the Skyle– is a high functioning, premium quality tablet and priced accordingly, starting at around $1200.

But the Skyle does promise access to the whole universe of iPad apps – a very exciting prospect for a lot of people.  And some users may not need all the functionality of a Windows eye gaze system.  The iPad's ease of use, might be key.

Sound familiar?  Doesn't this echo the argument that has been swirling around iPads since their introduction almost ten years ago?  

Nonetheless, we’ve already been hit with a lot of inquiries.  No doubt schools, users and systems particularly committed to the iPad ecosystem will be very excited to see this new accessibility option for this much loved operating system

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  • Bogdan Pospielovsky
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