An overview of Eyegaze and eye tracking technologies and their benefits, particularly for those with partial or full body paralysis.
Author: Justin Hua – HabITec Ambassador and consumer of eyegaze technology and the HabITec team.
“Eyegaze or eye tracking technology allows the user to control their computer or phone just by moving their eyes. This can be life changing for people who have limited or no function in their arms or legs or even with full body paralysis, such as locked-in syndrome.”
Eyegaze or eye tracking technology allows a user to control their computer or phone just by moving their eyes, this can be life changing for people who have limited or no function in their arms or legs or even with full body paralysis, such as locked-in syndrome.
In 2018 Apple introduced their TrueDepth front facing camera system on the iPhone X and iPad Pro. Initially intended for facial recognition security and photo apps, it could also be used by accessible apps for eye/face tracking.
One example is Hawkeye Access, an app available on the Apple app store. It works on iPhone X, iPad Pro and newer generations, though it can be easier to use on larger screen sizes.
The Hawkeye Access app allows you to navigate your Apple device. It requires a basic calibration after installing the app and has some adjustable settings for look sensitivity and method of selection (you can choose to select/’tap’ by smiling, blinking or holding your gaze), you can scroll by looking at the edges and access the home screen by looking at the bottom right corner and typing can be done by using the on-screen keyboard or with dictation.
There are also a number of eye gaze apps available for speech/Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC), for example I Have Voice, Visuals2Go, TouchChat HD, Speakprose and Jabberwocky (head tracking).
The current version of Microsoft Windows 10 has built-in support for eye gaze control with a compatible eye tracker (e.g. Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, Tobii EyeX). This means that you can use the Windows Eyegaze launchpad to navigate your PC by looking at an icon and holding your gaze to select/’click’.
To enable eye control in Windows, first go to settings, click ease of access and turn on the eye control option, this will open up the eye control launchpad with a number of useful functions and shortcuts. A detailed guide can be found here.
Although additional software is not required, the Tobii Eye Tracking app may be beneficial to those who are gaming or streaming.
Setting up requires the Tobii Eye Tracker to be mounted in a good position, you will then need to calibrate the eye tracker by following the instructions.
Find out more:
Skyle by Eye V
The Skyle is an eye tracker device that is attached onto your 3rd or 4th generation iPad Pro 12.9” (not included). The iPad is inserted inside the Skyle eye tracker case and the iPad can be charged simultaneously. The Skyle App is also required and is available for download from the Apple App Store. It comes with a one-year warranty.
Setup is quite simple for those familiar with Apple OS. It requires the Skyle/iPad to be positioned so that it can track the user’s eye movement adequately, but also in a way that the user is relaxed and comfortable. The Skyle requires calibration to recognise the user, by having the user look at dots that pop up around the screen.
A button/switch can be added, in addition to the Skyle eye tracker, and programmed for clicking, dragging etc. The various iOS accessibility options like dwell and dictation, as well as environmental control systems and associated apps can also be used to improve usability and some of these features include accessibility options within the Apple device (requires at least iOS 13).
Find out more:
Eyegaze Edge by Eyegaze Inc
The Eyegaze Edge is a completely standalone system, which uses its own mounting system, tablet computer device and software, which has a one-year full warranty.
It has different options for cameras, an endurance pack and environmental control unit, wheelchair mount, and rolling floor stand mount available on their website.
The Eyegaze Edge uses the Windows 10 operating system on a tablet device and their primary software is called Eyeworld 3 – which has chat, email, phone, text/calling, web browser, as well as computer control, environmental control and Alexa integration.
The Eyegaze Edge system requires only one eye to be tracked – which can be important and makes it more accessible.
Similar to other systems, the eye tracker camera is to be positioned so that it can track the user’s eye movement adequately, but also in a way that the user is relaxed and comfortable and will need to be calibrated/trained to the user, by having the user look at dots that pop up or move around the screen.
The Eyegaze Edge clicks when hovering over the user’s selection, the hover/click time and many other settings can be adjusted to the user’s preference.
Find out more:
Tobii Dynavox i-series
The Tobii Dynavox is an independent system with its eye tracker, screen, speakers and partner window (rear facing screen) all in one tough, lightweight unit with a 3-year accidental damage warranty.
The i-series is available in 13inch or 16inch screen sizes, it comes with a magnetic base with a built-in angle adjustment as well as a mounting plate to attach it to an optional adjustable mounting arm, charger and the ability to add accessible buttons.
The i-series has the “world’s best eye tracker” compatible with different eye colours, glasses and contact lenses and also the fastest gaze recovery time – which means if your eyes move out of tracking range, as soon as you look back at the tracker it will be ready to use – it can also be turned on/off with eye gaze.
It uses the Windows 10 operating system as well as its own software Communicator 5 – which includes text to speech, email and phone access, home control (via Google assistant) and also social media apps; Snap Core First, a customisable symbol-based communication app for people with language disabilities and Computer Control, an intuitive way to use eye gaze to control a computer.
Included in the package is a setup guide and further set up information installed on the device. Find out more:
“The Control Bionics NeuroNode Trilogy system can be quicker and easier to use than conventional eye gaze only systems because you can use any muscle movement signal to click instead of holding gaze or blinking, which can cause fatigue and lead to frustration.”
Control Bionics NeuroNode Trilogy
Control Bionics NeuroNode Trilogy combines their Eye Control Duo eye gaze system with Grid 3 AAC software and a wearable or adhesive EMG (electromyograph) device.
This system can be quicker and easier to use than conventional eye gaze only systems, because you can use any muscle movement signal to click, instead of holding gaze or blinking, which can cause fatigue and lead to frustration.
The Eye Control Duo System is a Windows Surface Pro 12 inch tablet computer with a tough integrated eye tracking case. Different floor/wheelchair/desk mounts are available on their website and it also comes with a two-year warranty and three months 24/7 customer support.
Find out more:
The Hopkins Centre
Menzies Health Institute QLD
0478 709 990