What is eye tracking technology?
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Eye tracking technology follows the movements of a wearer’s eyes and stores the information. Amazingly, this process existed as early as the 1800s, although major developments have been made in the last decade. Today, industries such as gaming, research and medicine use this technology.
How does eye tracking technology work?
Virtual reality gaming
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Virtual reality (VR) has been one of the biggest developments in gaming in recent years. But VR wouldn’t work without eye tracking. Oscar Werner of Swedish high-tech company Tobii Tech, said: “A VR headset without eye tracking will assume that I am speaking to the person in front of my forehead”. A more natural experience would be to talk to people within your gaze, without having to move your head to face them.
Many gaming franchises use VR, including Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and the incredibly addictive Minecraft. Virtual reality in video games involves wearing eye tracking technology in the form of glasses or a helmet. This often works alongside a controller to create an immersive experience.
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Eye tracking is very useful for those who want to develop a product. Bryn Farnsworth of iMotions, a company which simplifies biometric research for commercial clients, explains that when people wear portable eye tracking glasses, they can “interact with their environment normally". The eye tracking glasses won't distract a subject, so their interactions aren't affected. These analysed interactions then form the basis of market research. Some examples of different types of eye tracking research include:
- The effectiveness of displays in supermarkets
- Which area of a menu people look at first
- How people use their phone
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For people who have difficulties communicating or moving, eye tracking technology could be very useful. Currently this technology is very expensive, but the team at OptiKey have been working on a cheaper alternative to help the disabled. Using eye tracking technology, OptiKey gives people the ability to type without using their hands.
There are many other amazing uses for this technology in medicine. Eye tracking can also be useful in diagnosing autism at a younger age. While most babies focus on faces and social imagery, autistic babies much prefer geometric shapes. Tracking what types of images babies look at most can help to make parents aware of potential further signs of autism.