Blink and you'll miss it: Japan's new eye iPod

TOKYO Tue Mar 4, 2008 2:20pm EST

Shoppers make their way past the Apple Store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, October 22, 2007. REUTERS/John Gress

Shoppers make their way past the Apple Store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, October 22, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Bat an eyelid to replay your favorite iPod tune with a new Japanese remote control that works in the blink of an eye.

When a user winks, movement in their skin is detected by sensors clipped to their glasses or headphones, said Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University's Graduate School of Engineering Science, who developed the "KomeKami Switch" or "Temple Switch".

The infrared sensors then generate an electric signal that a micro computer uses to work Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPod.

Wink strongly for one second with one eye to rewind, use the other to skip to the next song, or close both eyes to pause and play, Taniguchi told Reuters in an e-mail interview.

But what if users accidentally blink only to find themselves in a completely different soundtrack?

"It doesn't happen at all. This system doesn't malfunction even if the user eats, talks, walks and runs," Taniguchi wrote, saying there were differences in movement between an accidental and an intentional blink or wink.

"The computer can judge the difference of those signals," he added -- even if other people around you may be left wondering what message your eyes are sending.

(Reporting by Sophie Hardach; Editing by Rodney Joyce)

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