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