If a technology demonstration by NTT DoCoMo goes anywhere, we may have to get ready for another odd sight: people who quickly flick their gaze sideways and roll their eyes for no apparent reason.
They'll be controlling their phones or their music players. NTT DoCoMo has created headphones that sense eye movements. For instance, you can look from right to left to pause your music. Look right, then right again, to skip to the next track. Roll them clockwise to raise the volume.
NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese wireless carrier, demonstrated the headphones this week at the world's largest wireless trade show, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It doesn't have any specific plans to get the technology into the market.
The headphones look much like regular earbuds, connected by a cable to a phone. They sense the movements of the eyeballs by measuring tiny changes in electric charge. It turns out that the cornea, the outer surface of the eyes, has a positive charge. When you look left, the resulting shift in the electrical charge can be detected as far away as the ears. And no, this is not the source of the expression "electrifying gaze."