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CES 2014: Danish Company Promises Low-Cost Eye Trackers For the Masses (Video)

Roblimo posted about 8 months ago | from the we-can-now-frag-our-enemies-with-the-blink-of-an-eye dept.

Open Source 22

Their website's "About" page says, under the headline, "Our Big Mission": "The Eye Tribe intends to become the leading provider of eye control technology for mass market consumer devices by licensing the technology to manufacturers." Their only product at the moment is a $99 development kit ($142.50 with shipping and VAT). Some people may want to say, "This is old news. Wasn't there an open source project called Gaze Tracker that was originally developed to help handicapped people interact with the world?" Yes, there was. The Eye Tribe is an outgrowth of the Gaze Tracker research group, which is still going strong and still offers its software for free download (from SourceForge) under an open source license. The company's funding comes in large part from a government grant. In the interview (below), The Eye Tribe CEO Sune Johansen notes that they have just started shipping their development kit, and that they hope to start selling an eye control kit for tablet computers to the general public before long, but he doesn't want to commit to a specific shipping date because they don't want to sell to end users until "...we have enough applications out there so that it makes sense for the consumers to buy it directly."

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not really "shipping today," if you buy one now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45968739)

"we're selling now, we're shipping today to developers..."

Not entirely true,

from their Dec 23rd blog post
"We are very happy to announce that the *first* shipment of The Eye Tribe tracker shipped out from our office in Copenhagen today. We did not ship as many as we had hoped in the first shipment, but don’t worry the rest will be on the way very soon."

still, look forward to when I can play with this. also.. Linux SDK please

Neato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45968765)

They must have put some serious work into their algorithms; my small experience with the ITU Gaze Tracker was that it simply stopped working if you moved your head more than the smallest amount. You could solve it by putting people's heads in (comfortable) vices, but still. Combining eye tracking and accurate head tracking is really hard.

This beats strapping PS3 Eyes to people's foreheads, that's for sure.

Re:Neato (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45969121)

mmmm....comfortable vices.

I already have a great number of vices, so this shouldn't be too much of a burden.

Re:Neato (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45969623)

I'd advice against that.

Danish (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45968877)

Heretoforward I propose that "Danish" shall refer to the tasty filled pastry or things thereto related. Whatever is left that is identified with Denmark but unrelated to the pastry shall be named "Denmarkish".

Re:Danish (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45969135)

...and that "Polish" be strictly reserved for dusting and cleaning products.

Re:Danish (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45973963)

All right, all right, I'll start to Polish after I Finnish my Danish.

Re:Danish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45969743)

What you American's call "Danish" isn't even close to real Danish pastry. Not sure why those two are related? Why not just call your "Danish" (the "pastry"), "American"? :)

Re: Danish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45969777)

What you Americans call "Danish" isn't even close to real Denmarkish pastry.

FTFY.

MIB (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#45968889)

Do my cheap sunglasses work against yet another monitoring tool, or should I wait for the new "Privacy by RayBan" line?

Re:MIB (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45969527)

Just get a pair of these [cargocollective.com] and you're set.

Lots of competition! (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 8 months ago | (#45968919)

Due to the magic of ad targeting (might be through Google; I have no knowledge of Slashdot's ad deals) I see that the ads on this story are for eye trackers and eye tracker developer kits. Amusing.

Strange question, slightly OT (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 8 months ago | (#45969013)

I'm working on a project that involves eye tracking while a person's eyes are closed, or at least mostly closed. Anyone know if any current eye trackers are capable of this?

What about the "Midas Effect" ... ? (4, Interesting)

pcor (8413) | about 8 months ago | (#45969127)

There is research work from the 1980's & 90's on the use of eye tracking for UI. Eyes tend to naturally scan around a scene - when the user becomes conscious that their gaze will 'affect' control regions in the UI they try to restrict this natural eye movement and it yields an uncomfortable sensation known as the 'Midas Effect'. This is mentioned and cited in this more recent paper: Real-Time Eye Gaze Tracking for Gaming Design and Consumer Electronics Systems [nuigalway.ie]
Sorry I'm too lazy to extract the original citation ... but it is worth tracking down and reading about how eye-gaze have been well known as a UI technique going back to the 1980's!

Re:What about the "Midas Effect" ... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45971613)

Yeah, i doubt any of the applications they have in their video are realistic (scroll music sheet while playing guitar, rewind recipe video while cooking... etc). This thing would be nice to run eye tracking studies at home, but anything where your eyes actually affect your environment is doomed to fail

Changing the dwell time (1)

bboyjkang (1630773) | about 7 months ago | (#45973581)

Changing the dwell time could be a very common action for web browsing (eye tracking interfaces allow you to activate a graphical widget by dwelling on it, and you can set the time that you need to fixate on the target). For example, if you are on a website that youâ(TM)ve never been to before, you might want to more carefully and slowly examine the hyperlinks, so you might choose to put a longer dwell time for activating links and other web elements. On another tab, you might be on one of your favorite websites, and youâ(TM)re familiar with the location of all the webpage links and menus. Having a âoechange dwell timeâ switch element already up on the screen will allow you to quickly switch to a lower required activation time so you can navigate through your favorite site faster.

Active control versus passive control (1)

bboyjkang (1630773) | about 7 months ago | (#45973637)

Active control versus passive control

In a video of Eye Tribeâ(TM)s presentation at Techcrunchâ(TM)s Hardware Battlefield, they distinguish between active control, where youâ(TM)re using your eyes to manipulate interface elements, and passive control, such as when your eye gaze approaches the bottom of a webpage of text, it automatically scrolls down.

They emphasize passive control in the presentation, but I think that itâ(TM)s because here, youâ(TM)re using your eyes already. If you look at an interface widget to highlight it, and then touch something to activate and select it, I think thatâ(TM)s passive because your eyes usually go to the target before your hands mechanically react.

Iâ(TM)m guessing that active control, like eyes only fruit ninja, will occur a lot less of the time, since you still have your hands. It would be useful for future computer glasses if youâ(TM)re doing something else with your hands.

They weren't the only ones there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45972069)

There was also Tobii at CES offering their eye tracking kit for $95

Thank goodness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45972491)

It was getting very cumbersome and expensive to keep track of my eyes.

Re:Thank goodness. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#45973967)

*rolls eyes*

Oh damn, there they go again...

*Eye tracking advantages* (1)

bboyjkang (1630773) | about 7 months ago | (#45973561)

*Advantages:*

*Comfort*
I have not seen any examples of a developer doing serious programming on a touchscreen. Iâ(TM)ve seen programmers that operate in a three-monitor environment, and I don't think that repeatedly reaching their arms across to touch the screens would be comfortable over time.

Gorilla arm syndrome: "failure to understand the ergonomics of vertically mounted touchscreens for prolonged use. By this proposition the human arm held in an unsupported horizontal position rapidly becomes fatigued and painful".

Eye control can be much lower in physical exertion.

*Augmentation, not replacement*

Eye control can be an additional input that works together with your hands.

e.g. you can use a macro program like Autohotkey to remap a keyboard button to click.

Appskey::Click

Look at any interface widget to highlight it, and then touch the application key on the keyboard to left-click and select it.

*Bringing speed and concept of virtual buttons like Android launcher icons, and Windows 8 tiles to desktop users*

Lastly, after using Autohotkey for remapping, I soon didn't have enough keyboard buttons to attach macros and lines of code to them, so I'd have to make new scripts that use the same button. After more scripts, it can be easy to forget which button does what.

You can now optionally take away your hands for moving the mouse cursor. Instead, stare at a target on-screen button, and using a keyboard button to click, you can instantly invoke custom virtual buttons that have your macros and commands that are attached to them. Quick activation of on-screen interface elements without a touchscreen is now more feasible. It virtually turns a non-touch screen into a touchscreen. You could pretty much design the buttons and controls to look however you want. Customizable, virtual buttons are infinitely more productive than static physical keys.

*Example:*

e.g. I remapped F1 to launch a google search on whatever is on the clipboard:
F1::Run google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=%Clipboard% .

With another script, F1 could execute something completely different. And within that script, depending on the context, such as what program is currently running, or what window is in focus, the use of F1 could change again; it can get confusing.

It would be more intuitive to look at a virtual button that is actually labeled, "Google Search the Clipboard", and then tap my activation key.

*Already using your eyes*

Before you move your mouse to select something, it is very likely that your eye gaze goes to the target first. The same thing goes for touch user interfaces. Your eyes are most likely already âoetouchingâ the interface widgets before you decide to actually reach out and physically touch them.

*Achieving different actions on a target: eye highlighting + touching virtual function buttons vs. touch gestures alone vs. mouse clicking on a desktop*

Eye highlighting + function buttons

If you had eye control on a touch device, you could have multiple go-to, base, function buttons (could be two or three) that you can press after you highlight something with your eyes.

Example: a video

E.g. You look at a video that youâ(TM)re about to watch, and then you could press function button one to open and play it, press function two to preview a thumbnail-sized highlight reel of it, and function three could be set to do whatever other command you want, like go to the comments section.

Touch alone: multiple touch gestures for different actions

Currently, if I take something like the Chrome icon on the home screen of Android, I can tap it to open it, or long-press/hold it to move it. (There's also double tap, triple tap, and swiping that are available for use, but I think it ends there).

Desktop: different types of mouse clicking for different actions

For desktop users, left and right single click, left and right double-click, left and right mouse drag, and the middle mouse click are some examples of mouse clicking that achieve different actions on a target once a mouse cursor is on it. More advanced mice have even more keys and buttons that can be reprogrammed, as some people need more.

Advantages of eye tracking + function buttons

Single tapping function keys would probably be faster and more comfortable than repeatedly doing double clicks, double taps, long presses/holds, or multi-finger gestures, such as pinching and zooming.

Since you may only need a couple activation buttons, your thumbs or fingers reach out for fewer things. If itâ(TM)s a larger, tablet-sized screen, which requires more hand movement to reach all the buttons, then entrusting yourself to merely a couple buttons and positions will give you even more of a speed and comfort advantage.

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