Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Watch how I try to trivialize something important

Guys, you know how sometimes the lady in your life will catch you checking out a particularly attractive example of the opposite sex? (I’m sure women do it too, only far more discretely.) Well have you wondered how she’s able to track the direction you’re looking so effectively?

Could she be using a female version of the Eyegaze Edge?

Okay, I really shouldn’t trivialize it, because this is a hugely important innovation in optics and image processing. As the AVT technical note, “An Insight into Eye Tracking Applications” explains, this is all about giving the severely disabled the ability to interface with the world around them. Watch the video embedded in the article for more details of how it can improve the quality of life of many handicapped individuals, and then do as I did and wonder how it works.

The secret, or so we are told in the AVT paper, is “a small, low-power infrared LED light at the centre of the camera lens”, which I figure make sit the first true on-axis light. Unfortunately, technical details are sketchy – I couldn’t even find anything on the manufacturer’s website – but I did manage to unearth the patent, or one of them.

So if you want to learn more, go to the US patent Office website at uspto.gov and search for patent number 5,231,674, “Eye Tracking Method and Apparatus”. It doesn’t tell you everything, but it might offer some hints about how to harness this idea for more mundane industrial applications.

It makes me think I should be using my skills to work on important stuff, instead of rambling away here.

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