Advanced uses of eye tracking technologies

Eye tracking usually means to estimate a person’s gaze direction, inferring the object a person is looking at at any given moment. An intelligent system equipped with an eye tracker can then offer information about the object or can trigger certain behaviors related to the object, for example, typing a letter on a virtual keyboard, switching on a light, highlighting the object or otherwise becoming aware of the person’s interest.

Beyond gaze direction estimation, there are many other functions an eye tracking system can be used for. For example, a display system can estimate the position of the user’s eyes in physical worlds in relation to the display. The coordinates, in turn, are used to adjust the information presented. The eye box for an AR system, for instance, can be adjusted on the fly to properly align augmented information rendering.  

Some eye tracking systems produce a measure of the size of the pupil. In a healthy individual, pupil size is involuntarily changed in relation to how much light is allowed to enter into the eye, but that is not the only event pupil size indicates. Mounting evidence shows that the pupil size also indicates the extent of cognitive load a person is subjected to. When performing decisions and problem-solving, pupil size will change as a result of increased mental processing. A robust eye tracking system can reliably report changes in the pupil size of the user and thereby inform a headset to respond effectively to the changed cognitive states of the user.

Pupil diameter changes have been shown to correspond to a large number of factors. For example, research shows emotional arousal, like seeing one’s loved ones, being mirrored in the pupil size. Intoxication levels and certain types of diseases can also be tested via pupil dilation. All these investigations, typically, require very controlled laboratory conditions, because even a slight movement of the eye tracker can disturb the reliability of the data.

Finally, the rate of eye closing and opening is a measure that can be obtained from an advanced eye tracker. When nervous, people change their blinking patterns, similarly as their pupil size changes. Studies have shown that a driver’s short and long blinks are affected by the workload related to the operation of in-vehicle information systems and driving the vehicle.

In summary, eye position information, pupil diameter changes, and blinking behaviors can be utilized in advanced intelligent and diagnostic systems. For their precision measurement however, the eye tracking device needs to be robust. 

SeeTrue Technologies has developed a unique solution to the eye tracking problem. A combination of miniature sensors, patented intelligent illumination, proprietary on-chip processing, and advanced patent-pending algorithms ensures wide applications of SeeTrue eye trackers in consumer, industrial, and healthcare applications. With up to 4x better accuracy, extremely high reliability and ease of use, the systems can perform in both critical and everyday environments.

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