Multi-monitor tracking system keeps you focused, makes sure you don’t miss anything

University of St. Andrews
A person is looking at the center display. The two displays to the left and right have been faded out by the system. Recurring changes in the unattended displays are visualized as bright pixels.

A multi-display setup is a great work setup because it helps you multitask, but at the same time it can be extremely distracting when you are surrounded by ten different open apps.

Researchers from the University of St. Andrews say that they have developed a multi-monitor system, called Diff Displays, that keeps track of where you are looking. The idea behind the system is to help you save energy and reduce distractions by dimming the unused screens.

Diff Display uses cameras mounted on the multiple monitors to detect which display you are actual looking at, while dimming the other screens to save energy. While you look away, the system will also highlight any changes that might have occurred on the displays you weren’t looking at.

So, say you have spreadsheet open on one monitor and Twitter open on another. While you are working on your spreadsheet, the system will dim the Twitter display, visually freeze it from updating, and display any changes that happen while you were looking away as bright pixels.

We’ve already seen a number of eye-tracking solutions used in gaming and in smartphones, but Diff Displays could be one of the most useful applications we have seen yet. The team behind Diff Displays has put the program up as a free download for Windows that you can try for yourself.

[University of St. Andrews via PhysOrg]

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