Tobii Dynavox, also known as Tobii, an assistive technology company that describes itself as "pioneers of eye-tracking and attention computing," has developed TD Pilot, an eye-tracking sensor technology that decodes gaze and provides iOS users with physical disabilities the ability to experience eye-tracking technology on their mobile devices.
TD Pilot: eye-tracking for iPad empowering thousands
The new iOS accessibility feature allows iPads to connect with eye-tracking devices, ideal for individuals with little to no upper body movement, varying degrees of paralysis, cerebral palsy, and people with ALS. With the help of TD Pilot, a person with little to no upper body movement can use an iPad with increased ease and access all its features solely by using their eyes.
The software could help an estimated 50 million people globally who still need communication assistance. The program is medically certified and meets Apple's performance standards.
How it works
TD Pilot works with any iPad running on iPad OS 15 or later, and can accurately perform eye tracking outdoors in bright sunlight. It also allows users to play games using assistive technology, and it supports more accessibility-friendly software that's built-in to the program, such as TD Talk and TD Snap. TD Talk generates a natural-sounding voice, controlled solely by eye movement. TD Snap is a symbol-based system that makes communication and learning more accessible.
TD Pilot also comes with Partner Window, which essentially serves as a second screen for the back of the iPad. It mirrors phrases entered by the person using TD Pilot as a more natural way to simulate face-to-face conversation.
Regarding hardware, TD Pilot includes:
- Boosted speakers and cameras
- An extended battery life
- A rugged design (both water and dust resistant)
- Wheelchair mounting
The biggest downside is cost − approximately $10,000 without support. On the plus side, however, Tobii has several insurance contracts that cover the cost of their products, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Who can get TD Pilot?
While anyone with the funds can acquire TD Pilot, the program is often offered the same way a medical provider prescribes medication. TD Pilot is often prescribed by a doctor or therapist, depending on individual needs.