The item labeled ‘10’ in the figure is described in the patent application's text as an LCD screen, showing this patent is specifically made with a mirrorless camera in mind. Item number 15 is a light-splitter that will redirect the image of the camera operator's eye to a dedicated lens and CCD sensor, which is detailed in the next illustration.

Canon has been on a roll with the patent applications recently. In addition to the wireless charging solution for cameras, Canon has also filed a patent application in Japan for an eye-controlled autofocus system for mirrorless cameras.

Japanese patent application 2019-129461 details a system for mirrorless cameras that will use the camera operator’s eye to determine the focus point of the camera, a system not much different than the Eye-Control system first seen in Canon’s EOS 5/A2E camera back in 1992.

Items 13a and 13b are described as infrared light sources that would illuminate the eye. Item 16 is a lens, which will focus the image of the eye onto item 17, a dedicated CCD sensor for tracking where the eye is looking.

According to the patent’s text, the system would use infrared light sources and accompanying sensor to capture and calculate the direction of the camera operator’s line of sight. The resulting information is then used to adjust the focus point, including any corrections that would be made in the event the calculations were unable to get a definitive read on the line of sight.

One area where the eye-controlled autofocus system struggled on the EOS 5 (as well as the EOS 3, EOS Elan II E and EOS Elan 7NE) is when the user would be wearing glasses or contacts. It doesn’t appear as though the patent specifically addresses this issue, but newer prediction algorithms and other technological improvements could potentially rid an eye-controlled autofocus system of this issue.

Examples of the eye-controlled autofocus system at work, including details on how it would account for times when the camera operator's eye isn't able to be captured/detected.

As with all patent applications, there’s no guarantee this eye-controlled autofocus will ever see the light of day. But, if Canon did it over 25 years ago, there’s little reason it can’t do it with today’s technology.