This is a hardware cum software design to allow the use of eyes to control a computer. The device is to be worn on the head and at present is modified from traditional Virtual Reality headsets. There is an algorithm that allows interpretation of the eye gaze detected on a camera on the hardware. The prototype has various features that serve clinical needs that are currently not met in the clinical area of alternative communication access methods with people with a physical disability.
The current target users are people with a physical disability who have constraints in using existing commercially-ready products.
We are looking for commercial partners who are able to develop the hardware and software further and able to interface it with various systems for additional functions.
TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS
The hardware prototype is modified from existing Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. 2 different brands of VR headsets were explored for the comfort and ease of modification.
Key advantages of modifying existing commercial VR headsets
It is assumed that VR headsets are designed for long hours of usage by professional gamers
They have features that have been tested with a large number of end-users that are proven to be comfortable to use
· High adaptability of software functions
Given that VR headsets and their associated software are designed for gaming that requires a multi-level interface of various scripts/commands, the software designed for this use can interface with it
Can offer both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional views to increase user-experience
Other features of hardware:
· Use of green light with a wavelength of 555nm to 600nm – which is more comfortable and ideal for long term exposure to the eyes compared to infra-red light.
· Potential to be marketed as an add-on part to existing commercial products to reduce the cost of entire headset
· It uses an algorithm to interpret eye movements
· Users only required to select across 5 “lines” or “planes”
This allows users who have a limited range of movement across the screen to make selections on the full screen
· Quick command keys can be easily customizable to allow quicker access
· Allow access to all features of computer including typing, internet use, etc.
Primary application area:
Patients who are unable to speak and move their hands due to neurological conditions or medical issues often require alternative communication means e.g., using their eyes to control a computer and type out messages.
Existing eye-tracking devices use a camera to capture the reflection of infra-red light emitted to the pupil of the eye and make predictions of selection on a screen. It requires the user to have a full range of eye movement to make a selection on a screen. As it uses an infra-red light, the device needs to be placed at a safe distance away from the eyes. It is also limited when there is a barrier/obstruction between the device and the user’s eyes; and when it is not positioned properly with specialized mounting systems.
This product serves to meet the following aims:
· Allow users who have poor neck control or unable to sit upright to communicate via eye gaze
· Allow users who have involuntary head movements to continue using eye gaze
· Enable person who requires frequent repositioning/oral suctioning to use eye gaze with minimal interruptions
· Allow the person to use eye gaze devices outdoors, and with potential to control their wheelchairs with it
· Allow user to interface with video conferencing/feedback to remotely control a robot elsewhere
· Increase user experience and potential for all persons with a physical disability who require the use of alternative access to computer/technology
Benefits of this technology for the users:
· Reduce dependence on communication partners
Customized communication charts inadequate for communication partners to predict user’s responses
Reduce the number of equipment required to set up for users to use
Reduce frustration in both user and their communication partners
If able to control wheelchairs/beds/robots/Smart home systems, can allow users to control the environment independently, thereby reducing carer burden
· Increase independence and autonomy
Users can independently participate in social activities on social media or applications for messaging
Users can participate actively in decision-making processes
Reduce the length of stay in hospital
· Improve care outcomes
Reduce communication breakdown between healthcare professionals and patients
Concurrent use of communication device while other care needs are attended to with real-time feedback of care needs that is not broken off due to obstruction of the communication device