Upcoming iOS app will use Face ID for head- and eye-tracking

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Eyeware Beam
Coming soon to iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Eyeware Beam

CES 2021 bug Eyeware Beam, an iOS app that uses the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera setup as a peripheral for eye-tracking or head-tracking on the PC, is among the offerings at this year’s CES.

The annual tech convention, which runs today through Thursday, is a virtual event this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That won’t stop startups and big electronics companies from showing off some seriously impressive tech, however.

Beam’s eye-tracking feature promises to have several use cases. One is tracking attention on screen, which can provide data points that can be used to make presentations clearer or otherwise measure how a person is interacting with content. (Provided the user allows the tracking, of course.)

It could also be used as a controller input for games by adapting camera angles or controls to your head pose. Beam’s creators additionally suggest it could be useful for video conferencing.

Eye-tracking is an interface element that a number of researchers have investigated. Apple itself explored this technology. However, to date, Apple has not shipped any products that require eye-tracking.

Get your first look at Eyeware Beam eye-tracking tech

At present, Eyeware Beam remains in private beta, although a full version is on the way. If you’re interested, you can sign up for an invite on the company’s website. “Sign-up … to join as a beta tester and help us iron out the bugs before the official release,” the website reads. The company plans to send out invites in the next few weeks.

The final app should work with any iPhone that comes with Face ID. You’ll also need a computer, although the exact OS and other requirements have yet to be made public.