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The Eyes Have It: TD Pilot Harnesses iPadOS 15, Lets Users Control Device With Their Eyes

Posted on February 16, 2022
Article written by
Megan Cawley
The TD Pilot leverages accessibility features, such as eye tracking, from the newest iPad operating system. Other features include a wheelchair mount and tools for making conversations easier. (Tobii Dyvanox)

  • The iPad’s newest OS features a new accessibility update allowing users to control the tablet with their eyes.
  • Assistive technology company Tobii Dyvanox has released a device called the TD Pilot, which blends the iPad with other hardware and software accessibility features.
  • The TD Pilot could cost up to $10,000 — though it may be covered by insurance providers.

A new accessibility features in Apple’s recently released iPadOS 15 is truly eye-catching: support for eye-tracking technology that lets a user control the system using only their eyes.

Assistive technology company Tobii Dyvanox helped Apple in developing the tech — and has harnessed it in its own medically certified iPad offering called TD Pilot. The TD Pilot includes other features aimed at helping people with motor and communication difficulties make use of Apple’s tablet technology.

The TD Pilot is a specially designed case, or frame, for an iPad device. The base is equipped with Tobii’s Eye Tracker software. The device also comes with extended battery life, large, enhanced speakers, and a wheelchair mount. Additionally, a secondary screen on the back of the device, called the Partner Window, mirrors phrases entered by the user, intended to make conversation easier and feel more natural.

TD Snap is designed to accommodate different types of communication needs. (Tobii)

It comes pre-loaded with Tobii’s augementative and alternative communication software including:

  • TD Talk — A text-to-speech app, designed to lets users engage in natural conversation using their hands or eyes
  • TD Snap — An assortment of page sets designed to support different types of communication needs and preferences
  • TD CoPilot — Designed to let users calibrate their eye tracker and adjust other settings, and to keep the device automatically updated

Worth noting is the advanced tech’s hefty price tag: about $10,000. This is in addition to the cost of the iPad, which can cost anywhere from $329 for the 64GB iPad to nearly $2,000 for a 12.9-inch, 2TB iPad Pro.

Tobii CEO Frederik Ruben, however, told Engadget that he’s confident the price tag will not hinder individuals’ access to the technology. According to Ruben, Tobii Dynavox is already in contract agreements with around 400 insurance companies, and its devices are already insured by Medicaid and Medicare.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Megan Cawley is a writer at MyHealthTeam. She has written previously on health news and topics, including new preventative treatment programs. Learn more about her here.

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