The Prospect of Eye Gaze Control: An Introduction
Using Eye Gaze control systems has become a realistic option for providing computer access for people with severe physical disabilities. For people with very minimal, controlled movement for example people with Locked In Syndrome or Motor Nuerone Disease (Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), such technology has provided access to communication, entertainment, safety, home control as well as the standard functions offered by computers. Eye Gaze Control systems work by using a range of cameras mounted in a computer monitor to track your eyes as they move. The computer then, after a period of training, associated this movement with the movement of the cursor on screen thus giving the person control over the mouse.
Clicking is controlled either by the person blinking, or alternatively dwelling in an area until the mouse automatically clicks.
Typically a person who wants to type, would use this system to control a virtual keyboard on screen by moving their eyes, and consequently the mouse to a particular letter and then selecting the letter by clicking.
Such a mechanism for typing is obviously very slow, however, new research by neuroscientist Jean Lorenceau at the Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University in Paris, France, has found a way to write onscreen using your eyes by using an optical illusion called “reverse phi motion“. The reverse phi effect means that moving your eye in any direction while looking at the screen makes it appear as if an on-screen dot is moving in that same direction, this makes it possible to trace shapes onscreen in a continuous movement, thus providing a person with the opportunity to draw letters, numbers and even pictures. Such developments could see people with significant motor disabilities extend how they use computers, giving opportunities for a more creative expression through writing or indeed producing art.
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For profiles of people with a disability using this technology click on the link below: