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Google Glass Will Track Your Gaze, Patent Hints

Google Glass hasn’t even commercially launched yet, but the company is already patenting new technology that could make the user experience more personal-- and possibly more invasive, too. A recently published patent describes a system that tracks the wearer’s gaze using both forward-facing and eye tracking cameras.

The idea behind this technology is for Google Glass to know exactly what’s grabbing your attention by pinpointing what you’re looking at. It can also detect emotional responses by noticing pupil dilation as well, according to the patent.

The technology would work by sending information from the device's first-person camera as well as eye tracking data to a server that would in turn tell Google Glass exactly where the user is looking in a particular scene. The patent doesn't specify if this is a feature that could be turned off, or if it requires the camera to be on at all times. The filing also doesn't mention Google Glass specifically, but references a "head mounted device." 

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There’s no telling if Google plans to use this tech any time soon, but such a development could further fuel privacy concerns around Glass. Casinos and bars within the US have already banned patrons from wearing the eyewear, and Congress has been prodding Google since May to establish what controls will be put in place to protect user privacy.

This isn’t the first patent that has provided some insight into Google’s potential plans for Glass. Previous patents have detailed ways to project a virtual keyboard from the headset and a system that would let Glass identify what’s in front of you.

The patent discovery comes a time when eye-tracking is beginning to play a role in mainstream computing. Technology such as the eye-tracking Rex camera by Tobii will soon be built in to laptops and tablets, and the first Ultrabook with this technology is expected to launch sometime during 2014.