Eye Candy: How Visual Interfaces Boost Productivity

Rosina Geiger

Munich-based startup 4tiitoo is unlocking the potential of eye tracking and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for a whole new way of working—from the office to the manufacturing floor.

In the high-tech thriller “Minority Report,” John Anderton (the character played by Tom Cruise) moves effortlessly through a digital ecosystem that instantly responds to his every need. Guided cars, spider robots, personalized advertising, and 3D videos: they’re all controlled by a high-tech mix of voice, gesture, and iris recognition.

In this version of the future, however, Tom Cruise has been liberated from the computer mouse and keyboard. Wearing high-tech gloves, he uses grand gestures to move and manipulate windows, icons, and images.

Many of these technologies are no longer science fiction. They’re part of our everyday lives. From video games to store beacons to voice-activated autonomous cars, it is a future in which many consumers already live.

Now this same technology landscape is moving into the office and factory floor. And it promises to transform the way we work, collaborate, and interact with the machines and software that make us more productive.

Visible to the naked eye

Driving this transformation is Munich-based startup 4tiitoo. The company uses a powerful combination of eye-tracking and AI to make everyday work more efficient, intuitive, and effortless. NUIA (Natural User Interaction to all Applications), the 4tiitoo technology platform, is widely replacing the mouse and keyboard with a visual interface that is natural and easy to use, just like language and gestures.

“We’re setting people free to interact with their computers in a more convenient way, which in turn results in higher productivity–from the office desktop to the factory floor and ERP systems,” says Stephan Odörfer, the company’s co-founder and managing director.

Seeing is believing

The advantages of eye control over regular hand controls are compelling. Today, typical business and factory users click a mouse 3,000 to 8,000 times per day—the travel equivalent of five kilometers. Eye control reduces these repetitive tasks to a simple gaze.

This lets users switch between applications, windows, and tabs, or even scroll through long lists and websites. They can also work within applications that require frequent window switching without lifting a finger. Depending on the workplace, a typical user can save between 10 and 50 minutes per day.

This improvement is more than a KPI statistic—it’s a revolution.

“By eliminating point-and-click on assembly lines and offices, 4tiitoo is rethinking the entire manufacturing landscape,” says Odörfer. “When workers can control their computers with significantly less mouse movement or even without hands, they’re freed up to be more innovative and productive in less time.”

The hands-free workplace

When eye control capability is extended across mission-critical software and systems such as ERP, PLM, and CAD, the potential for cost savings and efficiency is exponential. It’s an attractive proposition for manufacturers who want to explore digital transformation and achieve disruption in their industries.

The 4tiitoo platform is system-agnostic and easy to implement. This flexibility is a green flag to automotive, engineering, and manufacturing companies as they shift gears to become more innovation-focused:

  • Product lifecycle management (PLM). Managing product manufacturing processes requires an enormous amount of data entry across a large number of input fields, lists, and tabs. Instead of pointing, clicking, and pressing key combinations (or all three), users can now use eye control to switch between fields and forms with lightning speed.
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP). Core business process solutions require users to input high volumes of data across a large number of input fields in numerous tabs. It’s a laborious process that slows down productivity. 4tiitoo uses eye control to help users sift through the myriad of inputs in a fraction of the time.
  • Computer-aided design (CAD). With numerous toolbars, drop-down menus, and dialog boxes, CAD systems are complex to operate. Each action requires extensive mouse use–as many as 5,000 clicks on a typical day. The 4tiitoo solution promises to enhance usability, boost productivity, and ultimately shorten time to market.

Unleashing Industry 4.0

Because it works with an almost limitless set of industrial applications, 4tiitoo is well positioned to give companies and employees alike a competitive edge in their industries.

“Of all the senses, human beings use their vision the most,” says Odörfer. “By using this great strength, we can harness our intuitive, natural power to accelerate Industry 4.0.“

The big idea

4tiitoo, a Munich-based startup, has created a technology platform that lets people use their eyes to control computers and other devices.

Why it’s big

Users in the automotive, engineering, and manufacturing industries can control ERP, PLM, CAD, and office applications hands-free to achieve a competitive advantage through time and cost savings.

To learn more about how SAP is working with startups, get in touch with the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain and SAP.iO.

Rosina Geiger

About Rosina Geiger

Rosina Geiger is the Director of Startup Engagement at SAP. She has worked at the Hasso Plattner Institute before joining SAP in 2016 to establish the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain in Berlin and Palo Alto.