This weekend saw the third Imperial Festival take place at The Imperial College London's South Kensington campus.One innovative display that literally will catch the eye, is the development of a piece of eye tracking software that will enable disabled users without use of their limbs to drive their wheelchairs using just their eyes as steering aids.Even patients with spinal cord injuries will normally have the use of their eyes as the eyes are connected directly to the brain. Already there is eye tracking software that has been developed that is allowing patients to move objects on screens and in effect this too can effect the movement of a mobility device like a wheelchair, however what these current technologies do not allow is the user to be able to look around , as there is normally a considerable delay between the movement of the eyes and the movement of the chairs.
Now software has been developed by Aldo Faisal and a group of colleagues from Imperial College London that picks up even the slightest subtle eye movement that will determine when someone is wanting to just look around and when they want the chair to actually move.The team have not released how the software has been developed but they have announced that the total cost for the whole system will only amount to the grand sum of no more than £50.After observing how eyes move when just walking around the data collected was use to build software that decodes a person's intentions. The finished system involves two cameras – one trained on each eye – that observe eye movements and pass that information onto a laptop computer, which works out which direction and how far into the distance a person is looking. The response time is an impressive 10 milliseconds from a person's intent to move.
The system is hoped to be marketed by 2017.