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Next time you’re strolling through Japan don’t get all excited when someone winks at you. Because a Japanese researcher says he has developed a system that will soon let people run their iPods with the flick of an eye.

The system, comprising a single-chip computer and a couple of infrared sensors, monitors movements of the temple and is so tiny that it can be built into the side of a pair of eyeglasses.

Closing both eyes for one second starts an iPod, while blinking again stops the machine. A wink with the right eye makes the machine skip to the next tune while with a wink of the left eye it goes back.

As a person does not have to move either hand, the system can serve as “a third hand” for caregivers, rock-climbers, motorbike drivers and astronauts, as well as people with disabilities.

“You don’t have to worry about the system moving incorrectly as the system picks up signals when you close your eyes firmly. You can use this when you’re eating or chatting with someone,” said the device’s developer, Kazuhiro Taniguchi.

Whats special about this system is that it can differentiate between a normal blink and deliberate blink. This new switch can also work with air conditioners, TV’s, and room lighting. Kazuhiro Taniguchi hopes that some day his technology can be used for wheelchairs, and even robots.

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