Researchers are proposing gesture control for people who suffer from medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, or amputations and have come up with a technology that could be very affordable to the user.
In a project pursued at the Imperial College London, researchers found that two video game console cameras, priced at about $62 each, as well as a pair of $5 glasses are enough to implement an eye tracking technology that allows a user to control objects on a screen. In their research, they were able to use the technology to play a game of Pong.
The technology uses the cameras to take pictures of the eye and calculate where the user's pupil is pointing. With some calibration effort, that information can be used to figure out where the user is looking to. The technology is also sophisticated enough to come up with the 3D gaze of the subjects, which the researchers believe can not only be used on the screen, but in the real world as well. For example, a person could control an electronic wheelchair simply by looking at a destination.
"Crucially, we have achieved two things," said Aldo Faisal, Lecturer in Neurotechnology at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computing. "We have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface that allows patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than existing invasive technologies that are tens of thousands of times more expensive."
The research has been published in the July 13 edition of the Journal of Neural Engineering. There was no information on a possible commercialization of the technology.