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Eye Tracking as an Interface March 13, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in physical interaction design.
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med_03_zerseher.jpg

In 1992, ART+COM created an installation based on eye-tracking called Der Zerseher (De-Viewer): the user would blur an image exactly at the position where he would look at. Since then, eye tracking technology evolved, however not the use of this method as an interface.

Eye Tracker Tobii1750_left_grid_200.gif

Recently I saw some prototypes by Tobii the manufacturer of eye-tracking dispays. They were showing an application, which allows handicaped or busy people to type (or navigate) only though their eye gaze. They had quite a nice way to indicating to the user that his gaze was recognized and needed confirmation: a little clock would appear on the selected area and if the user would continue looking at this area for 1 second the are would be selected. One interesting scenario was to use this technology for doctors, who are using their hand in an operation and still need to check something (e.g. X-rays) on the computer.

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Another research (ACM account required) called MAGIC (Manual And Gaze Input Cascaded Pointing) is supporting pointing interaction through eyetracking. Shumin Zhai, Carlos Morimoto and Steven Ihde from IBM Almaden Research Center are proposing a system, which would put your mouse pointer in or close to the area of the user’s focus. They did some testing with positive, but not obvious results and were very proud that “the reduced fatigue from pure manual pointing is selfevident, simply because less cursor movement is needed.” I think this research might be a good starting point for further investigation, e.g. in the area of screen-based reading.

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