June 19, 2024
EyeQ takes a fresh look at video call eye contact | TechCrunch

Video calls, while essential, often lack the naturalness of in-person conversations, causing fatigue and reduced engagement. There are a ton of tools out there that help you keep eye contact when talking with people online – some (Plexicam, CenterCam) place the camera in front of your screen. Others use AI to edit the video stream to make it look as if you’re looking at the camera (it’s creepy AF when done poorly). EyeQ is taking a different approach, and we took a closer look at CES 2024 in Las Vegas.

The simple but ingenious device attaches to your laptop and, through the use of a mirror, enables you to maintain eye contact with the person you’re speaking to, even while looking at your screen.

The need for such a device is more pressing than ever. A recent study by Stanford University highlighted the severe impact of video call fatigue on workers. The lack of personal connection and the inability to maintain eye contact during video calls are major contributing factors to this issue.

If you look carefully, you can see the camera in the expanse of darkness. Image credit: TechCrunch / Haje Kamps

“When participating in a video call, you typically face the dilemma of choosing between looking at the camera or at your screen. To address this, we’ve developed a device that combines both elements, similar to a teleprompter. In its compact form, it resembles an iPad Pro, but it can be unfolded and mounted onto your laptop,” Gert Maass, founder and CEO at EyeQ explains in an interview with TechCrunch. “This device features a transparent mirror, allowing you to see through it while a camera located beneath the half-mirror records your image. It’s designed for easy installation, taking only a few seconds, and connects via a USB cable. This device is adaptable for both laptops and desktop monitors,”

The device is expected to ship in June 2024 and is compatible with all main video platforms. It comes in three sizes to fit any screen and includes an Ultra HD 4K camera, a digital microphone, and a stylish cover made from recycled leather.

“Our primary focus is on the online healthcare and consultancy markets, where making authentic eye contact is crucial. Our solution offers a more natural appearance compared to existing AI-based options,” says Maass.

The solution is elegant, except that it becomes hard to type when the device is installed on your laptop – not an issue if you have an external keyboard, obviously, but it means it’s less a tool for road warriors, and more for people who’ve got a more permanent office setup.

Read more about CES 2024 on TechCrunch

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