Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling your computer with your eyes

Date:
July 12, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Summary:
Millions of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or amputees could soon interact with their computers and surroundings using just their eyes, thanks to a new device that costs less than £40. Composed from off-the-shelf materials, the new device can work out exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements, allowing them to control a cursor on a screen just like a normal computer mouse.

Researchers from Imperial College London demonstrated the functionality of the new system by getting a group of people to play the classic computer game Pong without any kind of handset.
Credit: Image courtesy of Institute of Physics (IOP)

Millions of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or amputees could soon interact with their computers and surroundings using just their eyes, thanks to a new device that costs less than £40.

Related Articles


Composed from off-the-shelf materials, the new device can work out exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements, allowing them to control a cursor on a screen just like a normal computer mouse.

The technology comprises an eye-tracking device and "smart" software that have been presented July 13, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Neural Engineering. Researchers from Imperial College London demonstrated its functionality by getting a group of people to play the classic computer game Pong without any kind of handset. In addition users were able to browse the web and write emails "hands-off."

A video of somebody using the device to play Pong can be viewed here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zapK5wvYU84)

The GT3D device is made up of two fast video game console cameras, costing less than £20 each, that are attached, outside of the line of vision, to a pair of glasses that cost just £3. The cameras constantly take pictures of the eye, working out where the pupil is pointing, and from this the researchers can use a set of calibrations to work out exactly where a person is looking on the screen.

Even more impressively, the researchers are also able to use more detailed calibrations to work out the 3D gaze of the subjects -- in other words, how far into the distance they were looking. It is believed that this could allow people to control an electronic wheelchair simply by looking where they want to go or control a robotic prosthetic arm.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the eye-tracker, the researchers got subjects to play the video game Pong. In this game, the subject used his or her eyes to move a bat to hit a ball that was bouncing around the screen -- a feat that is difficult to accomplish with other read-out mechanisms such as brain waves (EEG).

Dr Aldo Faisal, Lecturer in Neurotechnology at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computing, is confident in the ability to utilise eye movements given that six of the subjects, who had never used their eyes as a control input before, could still register a respectable score within 20 per cent of the able bodied users after just 10 minutes of using the device for the first time.

The commercially viable device uses just one watt of power and can transmit data wirelessly over Wi-Fi or via USB into any Windows or Linux computer.

The GT3D system has also solved the 'Midas touch problem', allowing users to click on an item on the screen using their eyes, instead of a mouse button.

This problem has previously been resolved by staring at an icon for a prolonged period or blinking; however, the latter is part of our natural behaviour and happens unintentionally. Instead, the researchers calibrated the system so that a simple wink would represent a mouse click, which only occurs voluntarily unlike the blink.

Dr Faisal said: "Crucially, we have achieved two things: we have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface that allows patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than existing invasive technologies that are tens of thousands of times more expensive.

"This is frugal innovation; developing smarter software and piggy-backing existing hardware to create devices that can help people worldwide independent of their healthcare circumstances."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics (IOP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abbott W W and Faisal A A. Ultra low-cost 3D gaze estimation: an intuitive high information throughput complement to direct brain–machine interfaces. J. Neural Eng, 2012 DOI: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/4/046016

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics (IOP). "Controlling your computer with your eyes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224622.htm>.
Institute of Physics (IOP). (2012, July 12). Controlling your computer with your eyes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224622.htm
Institute of Physics (IOP). "Controlling your computer with your eyes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712224622.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

The Best Apps to Organize Your Life

Buzz60 (Oct. 23, 2014) — Need help organizing your bills, schedules and other things? Ko Im (@konakafe) has the best apps to help you stay on top of it all! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Nike And Apple Team Up To Create Wearable ... Something

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — For those looking for wearable tech that's significantly less nerdy than Google Glass, Nike CEO Mark Parker says don't worry, It's on the way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins