How numbers can change the way you use software

This entry is by Product Engineering Software’s Vanessa Bloss.

Please see here for the first part of this series with 4tiitoo, where we explore their eye-tracking technology that is making its way into NX.


Friday the 13th… Do you think this is an unlucky day?

Many of us see the number 13 unlucky. Some people try to avoid it and the associated bad luck, which is why many hotels don’t have a 13th floor and some airlines don’t include a 13th row. In contrast the number seven has many positive things associated with it: there are seven colors of the rainbow, seven continents and the seventh heaven.

For our Munich based partner 4tiitoo the number 42 is a special one: it gave them the inspiration for their name. Of course for those of you who have read Douglas Adams book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” you will know 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. 4tiitoo’s mission is as big as the meaning of their name: they want to bring our computer interaction to a whole new level- with a focus on the people and not the computer.

So what is 4tiitoo doing exactly and why do they feel it will help you to transform your workplace? 4tiitoo developed NUIA Productivity +, a software platform which uses an eye tracker. If you’ve never seen an eye tracker before, it’s a small device which gets attached to your computer. It contains a sensor which follows and captures the movements of our pupil. The eye tracking technology is not new, it has been used for some time in the neuroscience and other fields. It didn’t find its way into the design space until 4tiitoo was founded in 2013. If you bought and attached an eye tracker to your computer before, the systems you worked with would not recognize that there is an eye tracker plugged in. 4tiitoo closed this gap by combining eye tracking and artificial intelligence:  NUIA (natural user interaction application) was born. NUIA can translate eye movements into commands and it works with almost any application. Whether it’s Microsoft office, Outlook or even one of your custom applications: all you need to do is to plug in and install! The best news is that you can already use the eye control platform to navigate within the NX user interface. Try it out!

NUIA’s different functionalities allow you to operate your computer hands – free. With NUIA you can read a text with only your eyes. NUIA also takes over the scrolling with the mouse for you. You can click and select buttons via gaze control. If you’re designing in NX, the “smart teleport functionality” will be of great use. Designers usually spend a lot of time moving between different areas on the screen. With this functionality all you need to do is gazing at a spot on your screen and the cursor gets teleported there. All totally hands – free!

NUIA has the power to disrupt the factory and office work like we know it and the usage possibilities are endless. At office workplaces, NUIA leads to a significant reduction in daily mouse use resulting in 4-12% higher productivity. Think about how many people need to do repetitive tasks in their day to day work and fill the same forms over and over. Eye tracking can make all these tedious activities a whole lot easier and reduces errors. At the production workplace on the shop floor, NUIA reduces the necessary interaction with the terminals, tablets and operating panels by hands-free eye control. This allows the worker to fully concentrate and do the necessary assembly steps.

Sounds futuristic? Maybe!  But it can help solve problems of the present.  With this new technology the mouse and keyboard are mostly replaced by easier forms of interaction such as eye movements and glances. Besides the great impact on our productivity levels it also contributes to a more comfortable way of working. Eye control reduces the overload of the hand by mouse use and resulting sicknesses. NUIA helps you to save time and energy for the more essential tasks in your life.

You might wonder now whether 4tiitoo really found the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything? One thing is clear: 4tiitoo is not at the end of their journey. And since 42 can be divided by seven, you could say that luck is on their side.

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