Fujitsu is showing the most promise in this field. At CEATAC, they showcased their new I Beam technology in both tablet and desktop form. The system is free of additional external equipment, utilizing an infrared LED and a camera. The light bounces off of the users eyes and the camera picks up the corneal reflection, using it to calculate the viewing angle and navigate the screen. The system is still in prototype stages and will require user interfaces built specifically for the technology.
The real question here is the effect such a system will have on the vision of the user. Prolonged use of computers is known to cause vision problems. CVS, or computer vision syndrome, includes symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes which can persist even when away from the computer.
The danger with infrared LEDs is that they do not induce the defense mechanisms that our eyes rely on to protect us from overexposure. Because the visible part of the light has been removed, the iris does not contract, the eye does not blink and we do not feel the need to look away. In our everyday life, the majority of infrared light we view is paired with visible light, so our defenses are put to work protecting us from overexposure. But users of industrial high-powered infrared LEDs take careful precautions to protect their eyes from the harmful rays and the retinal damage and cataracts that they can cause.
What, then, can we expect if we willingly expose our eyes to infrared LEDs? Even if they are less intense and low-powered, prolonged exposure is sure to have harmful effects. Will our craving for sleeker, jazzier gadgets outweigh our own health and safety?