(Tracking the user’s pupil to find where they are looking)
From touch-screen computers to the Kinect’s full-body motion sensor—interacting with your computer is as simple as a tap on the screen or a wave of the hand. But what if you could control your computer by simply looking at it? Gaze tracking is a dynamic and immersive input system with the potential to revolutionize modern technology.
Realizing this potential, Rachael Havens, a member of the UM3D Lab and UROP student, investigated ways of integrating an efficient and economical gaze tracker into our system. However since this powerful tool is overlooked by many people, this task proved to be quite the challenge. Current professional gaze tracking tools are highly specialized and require buyers to drop tens of thousands of dollars for a single system. The open-source alternative is not much better, as it sacrifices quality for availability. Since none of the aforementioned options were ideal, a custom design was pursued.
Inspired by the EyeWriter Project, the Sony PS Eye was hacked. We systemically replaced the Infrared filtered lens and lens mount, adding a visible light filter and installing our own 3D printed lens mount. With little expense, we transformed a $30 webcam into an infrared, head-mounted gaze tracker. The 3D Lab didn’t stop there, however; we integrated this gaze tracker’s software with Jugular, an in-house interactive 3D engine. Now a glance from the user doesn’t just move the cursor on a desktop, it selects objects in a 3D virtual environment of our own design.