IN CANON INC.'S UPCOMING camcorder and 35mm film cameras, the eyes have it--control, that is. The eye-control system in the viewfinder is much more advanced than the original technology in Canon's EOS A2E 35mm camera, introduced three years ago. That system handled only focusing. The new eye-control capabilities also feature "look-at" menus.
With the new ES5000 camcorder, you can select options, such as fading and strobe effects, just by staring for two seconds at a menu listing. Eye movements can handle nearly everything except zoom control. Sensors in the viewfinder determine precisely where you're looking by measuring the position of the eye's iris.
This gadgetry isn't cheap. When the ES5000 makes its debut in September, it should cost close to $2,000 even at discounters. But the price could fall as Canon puts the technology to work in more products. New 35mm cameras, the QD series, are also due this year, and Canon sees a future for eye control in TVs and other consumer-electronics gear. "The way we'll interact with home-entertainment systems is going to be revolutionized," says Michael Zorich, technical coordinator for Canon USA Inc.