The eye is no longer merely the window to the soul. Thanks to Umoove, it is now the window to the hi-tech world.The Jerusalem-based start-up has created a technology platform that lets people control apps by simply moving their eyes or their faces. Just as the keyboard, the mouse and the touch screen changed the way people interacted with computers, Umoove’s technology has the potential to redefine the next generation of applications.“The eyes give you the ability to understand the user,” said co-founder and CEO Yitzi Kempinski. That lets the programmer infer the user’s intention, and help build a more intuitive experience.Kempinski started his first company in high school, developing websites.“It was a funny time. You had to convince even big companies that a website is important and something you should have,” he said.The first time he came across eye-tracking technology, it was an expensive medical device that his aunt, who had ALS, relied on to communicate.“It’s the only part they can move, and they communicate by looking at text or other things.” That specialized hardware, however, was very specific and expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars.When Nokia came out with phones that had front-facing cameras, he and his colleague Tuvia Elbaum decided that they could use that hardware to bring eye-tracking functioning to a mass market.It didn’t go so smoothly; in their first test, the phone crashed after three seconds. But the hardware advances made in the few short years since then allowed the company to develop a responsive, accurate program.The camera scans images and figures out where the users’ face and eyes are. From there, it can compute where they are focused, how quickly they are moving and even when they look up.As the hardware caught up to the software, the possibilities suddenly seem endless. Whether simple features like pausing videos by looking away, or giving gamers the ability to control a character flying through the air, the technology created a whole new – and very intuitive – way to interact with electronic devices.“It’s a new capability, it’s something that opens up new possibilities and we don’t think we know them all and have the answers to them all,” said Kempinski.To help unleash some of those possibilities, Umoove is letting game developers use the platform for free, but it has its eye on profits from strategic cooperation with companies in fields such as medical diagnostics and analytics.The latter, in particular, has – like so much modern technology – both intriguing and somewhat unsettling possibilities. Advertisers would love to know how long people spend looking at their ads, or what part of a webpage draws users’ eyes.In a 2012 article titled “Your e-book is reading you,” The Wall Street Journal explored the strange possibilities of having massive amounts of data, for the first time ever, on people’s reading habits as a result of e-books.“The major new players in e-book publishing – Amazon, Apple and Google – can easily track how far readers are getting in books, how long they spend reading them and which search terms they use to find books,” the article said.“Retailers and some publishers are beginning to sift through the data, gaining unprecedented insight into how people engage with books.” That data could become all the more specific if instead of just tracking how long it took to read passages, or what sentence everybody highlighted, they actually followed people’s eyes, tracking where they linger, where they skim and where they skip ahead. Umoove can figure out what each beholder’s eye finds beautiful.Kempinski said that any such data will be anonymized, and never sent without users’ permission.The best part about the software, said Kempinski, is that like highly anticipated operating system upgrades, it enhances the capabilities of devices people already have.“It’s almost like adding another sensor to the device. Not a future version of the device, but the device you’re holding in your hand.”Already, companies are lining up to get on board, looking for ways to integrate or utilize the new technology. Kempinski expects several exciting new releases in the coming year.