13 July 2012

Affordable 3d tracking system lets users control a computer with their eyes

People suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy or spinal cord injuries could soon interact with their computers using just their eyes, thanks to researchers from Imperial College London.

The researchers built an affordable device from off the shelf materials that can work out exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements, allowing them control a cursor on screen. They say it cost them less than £40 to create and is commercially viable.

The GT3D device is made up of two video game console cameras that are attached to a regular pair of glasses. The cameras constantly take pictures of where the pupil is pointing and a set of calibrations work out exactly where the person is looking. Users can also use the system to click on an item by winking.

More detailed calibrations can work out how far the subjects are looking. The researchers say this could allow people to control electronic wheelchairs or prosthetic arms simply by looking where they want to go.

The device uses 1W of power and can transmit data wirelessly over WiFi or via usb to any Windows or Linux computer.

"Crucially, we have achieved two things," commented Dr Aldo Faisal, neurotechnology lecturer at Imperial College. "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."

Author
Simon Fogg

Supporting Information

Websites
http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/

Companies
Imperial College London

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