Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Preview Build 16257 for PC to Windows Insiders, with the most notable new feature being a beta test of eye controls.
The goal with Eye Control is to make Windows 10 more accessible to people with disabilities, enabling them to operate an on-screen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech tool using only their eyes.
The feature is currently only available with select Tobii hardware and on the EN-US keyboard layout, but additional hardware vendors and layouts will be added in future updates.
To set up Eye Control, users will need to purchase a Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, connect it to their PC and then download the relevant Tobii software. Once setup is complete, a launchpad will appear on the screen where users can access the mouse, keyboard, text-to-speech feature.
Text-to-speech, as you would expect, is a dictation tool that allows users to communicate with friends and family in person. Sentences typed on the keyboard are spoken aloud and phrases can be edited to include different words.
A further interesting aspect of Eye Control is something Microsoft calls “shape-writing”. This enables users to “form words by dwelling at the first and last character of the word, and simply glancing at letters in between”.
Multiple predictions will appear on the last key of the word and users simply select the correct option.
Microsoft does, however, identify some known issues with the feature. For example, it doesn’t work very well in direct sunlight and may need to be re-calibrated when moving to a location with different lighting conditions.
Eye Control isn’t the only thing going on with Windows 10 Preview Build 16257; Microsoft Edge and Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) have also both received improvements.
Starting with the Edge web browser, it now features a re-designed address bar, improved button animations that feel more responsive and fixes to image copy and pasting from the browser.
WDAG, on the other hand, now boasts fixes to multiple technical networking and registry issues, “significant improvements” to container launch times and new status strings that provide more information about that startup stages for WDAG.
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