COVID-19 has changed our perception of what is safe and healthy, and avoiding contact is now a habit. There is a preference for the use of no touch solutions in our daily dealings, and this has driven the trend we are now seeing. In fact, such is the case that nowadays, 66% of consumers prefer to use their mobile apps in places such as physical stores and bank branches, instead of alternative touch solutions*.
With the Mobile Word Congress as the backdrop, and to demonstrate the potential of 100% touchless technology, the company IRISBOND, a pioneer in eyetracking technology, along with the Azkoyen Group, leading Spanish technology multinational that offers automated products and services designed to bring unique experiences to people in their daily lives, have presented the innovative pilot project of the first coffee machine controlled solely by eye gaze.
Both Spanish companies have combined their pioneering technology to jointly develop the first example of eyetracking technology for interacting with devices.
Azkoyen’s machine, in which this groundbreaking innovation has been tested, is the Vitro M5 model, an automatic coffee machine that forms part of the company’s successful Vitro series. The Vitro M5 has been developed with the help of leading engineers specialised in the preparation of fresh milk. The innovative micro-injection of air (MIA) technology, patented by Azkoyen, makes it possible to prepare a coffee like one from the best barista. A perfect, silky, consistent milk foam that maximises the quality of the drink, turning the coffee moment into a unique experience.
According to Juanje Alberdi, CEO of the Azkoyen Group’s Coffee & Vending Systems and Payment Technologies divisions: “We are very pleased and excited about this agreement, as it allows us to be part of a new environment and to make rapid progress in meeting the needs of the consumer of the future. It opens up new ways to offer an improved user experience, new possibilities for interaction and guides the user towards a new form of consumerism. Continuing with the touchless trend, we already developed and patented the Distance Selection technology during the pandemic, which allows products to be selected without the need for physical contact with the surface of the machine. This partnership with Irisbond takes us a step further, in order to bring more value to customers and users”.
In order to integrate IRISBOND’s eyetracking technology into Azkoyen’s machine, we used an application that communicates with the coffee machine. In this way, the machine manages which products are offered and the application represents them so that the selection can be made using only the eyes, without touching anything with your hands. For the design, we performed tests in real environments to ensure interaction through the gaze was as quick and intuitive as possible. Furthermore, the integration that was conducted means that all products of the Coffee & Vending Systems Division of the Azkoyen Group can be transferred. Thanks to this project, we can really see how eyetracking technology provides a new way of interacting and communicating with the environment. Using advanced algorithms from software based on artificial intelligence, along with the hardware, the gaze is translated into something that can provide access to information in a natural, intuitive and hands-free way, in addition to full control of the screen.
IRISBOND eyetracking technology for this project is infrared-based, and captures the user’s gaze, being able to calculate the exact point the user is looking at in order to select the coffee. For this project we have optimised the eyetracking technology to ensure robust use in the shortest possible time, given that the user only wishes to carry out a quick and simple action, such as selecting a coffee and getting on their way. It is important to emphasise that this eyetracking technology does not require any user information under any circumstances, therefore no information of a personal nature is stored.
Currently, this machine is an advanced prototype. From hereon in, the application of this technology to make people’s lives easier is now a reality. It is an inclusive and Covid-free product that provides the user with full freedom of interaction, in a very natural way, and also allows people with reduced mobility to lead more independent lives.
“At IRISBOND, we know that interactive eyetracking technology has a very broad use in a number of areas. From everyday use as an inclusive, infection-free technology, even in industry, to a very important area of use such as health. We are full of pride for having developed this product along with Azkoyen for the first time in the world. And we want to thank Mobile World Congress for giving us the opportunity to display at such an important event as this, for the world of technology. A simple idea that is easy to use and that may even lead to a revolution in user-friendliness, which is why we would love this product to go beyond business and also be developed for domestic use”, says Eduardo Jáuregui, founder of IRISBOND.
Spanish cutting-edge, world-class technology
Founded in 2013 by Eduardo Jauregui, IRISBOND is a company pioneering in assistive technologies that has created the first eyetracking software, 100% developed and manufactured in the Basque Country. In October last year, Hiru was launched, the first multiplatform eyetracking device in the entire world. Thus, Hiru is capable of being compatible with all the operating systems in different devices, from a PC to an ATM, a lift or an access control in an office building.
Thanks to Hiru, companies can develop any type of initiatives required for the freedom of controlling any device with the gaze. This is, without doubt, a gigantic step forward in eyetracking technology. Mainly because it will improve key aspects such as costs, time or user-friendliness, providing solutions that are also suitable for people with reduced mobility, creating a more inclusive world for all thanks to the natural communication system of the human being: the gaze.
For its part, Azkoyen Group offers advanced technological solutions for vending markets and HORECA/OCS, payment and security systems, providing its customers with unique experiences in businesses and offices, hotels and restaurants, convenience stores, transport and leisure, and public buildings.