In the future, eye-tracking technology may replace the mouse and the keyboard, according to London-based boffins.

An infra-red eye-tracking headset has been used by scientists from Imperial College London to recognize how the eye moves during a task, reports BBC News.

The scientists wanted to achieve insight into visual knowledge - the way we see things and translate the information into actions.

Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, a scientist in the department of computing at Imperial College, believes eye-tracking technology could assist the way we communicate with machines, such as computers.

Work with the team started three years ago. The experiment has been Yang's passion for over ten years.

Yang said: "Eye-trackers will one day be so reliable and so simple that they will become yet another input device on your computer, like a much more sophisticated mouse."

He continued: "Testing involved a lot of basic and in depth studies. First we started examining the basic phenomenon of human vision then we used the understanding of the eye for several hundred test cases to work out of a strategy for basic mechanisms."

However, the findings will initially be used in keyhole and robotic surgery.

Yang added: "If you want to operate on a moving object using keyhole surgery, such as the beating heart to do a coronary bypass, you want to have a stable view.

"We could have the camera move in correspondence with the heart's rhythm, so what you see is a stationary picture."

Potential applications include warning drivers that are nodding off by installing an eye-tracker in a car dashboard and allowing fighter pilots to aim missiles by just looking at the target.