To demonstrate the potential offered by eye tracking software for those with paralysis, researchers from Imperial College London filmed a postgraduate student painting with just eye movements as she sits and eats breakfast.
The eye tracking software partners with a robotic arm that follows the student's eye "commands," picking paint colors and applying the paint to a canvas. Through directed eye movement and strategic blinking, the team's algorithm decodes tiny movements and translates them into motion.
In the video, Aldo Faisal, an associate professor of neurotechnology at the College's Brain and Behavior Lab, explains the potential for day-to-day life: "So you can imagine, for example, when you want to grab a cup; you will look at that cup before you grab it. And you will look in a specific way so you can judge where it is and how wide you have to shape your grip."
Okay, so the painting isn't great, but the technology is a work in progress. And the video's subject Sabine Dzieman said it was ridiculously easy to learn how to direct the robot. "I didn't need a lot of time to learn how to use it. Actually, using it one time was enough to know how to control it completely, " Dzieman said.
The hope is that eventually the technology will advance so that the software is more intuitive and the actions more seamless. It could provide the disabled with a lot of new opportunities.