Using eye movements to control the mouse

Introduction

Eye gaze is an alternative way of accessing a computer using eye movements to control the mouse. For someone who fine touchscreens, mouse or keyboards inaccessible, eye gaze is an alternative method to allow a user to operate their computer, using the movement of their eyes.  It is achieved through a combination of hardware and software. The hardware is called an eye tracker which is positioned underneath the computer monitor. It contains a camera and Infrared lights. The user sits between 500 and 1000 mm from the monitor (600mm is usually about right) where the camera has a clear view of their eyes.  The camera tracks where their eyes are looking, letting them move the mouse pointer around on the screen.  They can ‘click’ by dwelling (staring at a screen button for a certain length of time) or by using a switch that’s plugged into the computer. 

An Eye gaze tracker on a mount with a Microsoft surface pro tablet

Eye gaze systems have been around for about 15 years now, and it’s a technology that has seen significant improvements to both hardware and software over the years with an increasing number of companies involved such as Alea technologiesTobiidynavox, Eyetech digital systemsEyegazeInc, and Irisbond.

Some eye gaze solutions offer an all-in-one package enabling users to access desktop control, communicate, and access environmental controls.

Mounting is something that needs to be considered as a consistent position is important.  However, there are various mounting such as Rehadapt, and Dassey

Read our blog on Alea IntelliGaze with Grid Pad – ATandMe

Early eye gaze

Introducing an eye-gaze device to an individual who is non – verbal can open up a world of possibility for them; it can allow them to communicate, engage with games and play as well as allowing them to access and control their environment.  Although it can be difficult to find fun and motivating ways to encourage them to engage with the device.

Read our blog on Getting started with an eye – gaze device – ATandMe

Look to Speak

An eye gaze option available for Android devices is Look to Speak.  This is a new Android App, produced by Google Creative Lab.  This app aims to give a limited phrased based communication system to those who need assistance in supplementing their speech. The idea behind this project was to use the Google platform to give an option to people to use their eyes to select a pre-stored phrase or sentence.

look to speak app on the google platform

Read our blog post on Look to Speak App for Android – controlled by eye movements – ATandMe

Eye gaze for iOS

Over the years Apple has gradually built in a comprehensive and well-designed range of Assistive Technology supports that go a long way to accommodating every access need. Examples include VoiceOver for blind people, Voice Control and the improvements made to Assistive Touch. However, there wasn’t until recently a commercial eye-tracking option available for either iOS or macOS

Read our blog on Skyle – out of the blue – ATandMe

Eye Control on Windows 10

Microsoft’s Eye Control is an inbuilt feature to facilitate access to the Windows 10 OS using the low-cost eye gaze peripheral the Tracker 4 C from Tobii

Read our blog on Eye Control – Inbuilt EyeGaze Access for Windows 10 – ATandMe

Eye gaze gaming

Based on the Open Source eye gaze AAC/Computer Access solution Optikey by developer Julius Sweetland, Special Effect have developed an on-screen Minecraft keyboard that works with low-cost eye trackers like the Tobii Eye X and the Tracker 4C

EyeMine software is a solution that will allow Minecraft to be played using a pointing device like a mouse or joystick or even totally hands-free using an eye gaze device or headmouse. The availability of this application will ensure that Minecraft is now accessible to many of those who have been previously excluded.

EyeMine | Eye-controlled Minecraft Software (specialeffect.org.uk)

Eye gaze for Musical Expression

There are now several software programmes that can enable someone to play music using eye gaze, one of the first software instruments made specifically for eye gaze, is the EyeHarp. 

Read our blog Eyegaze for Musical Expression – ATandMe

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