TECH OFFER

Head-Mounted Eye-Tracker Communication Device

KEY INFORMATION

TECHNOLOGY CATEGORY:
Electronics - Embedded Systems
Electronics - Lasers, Optics & Photonics
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TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVEL (TRL):
LOCATION:
Singapore
ID NUMBER:
TO174272

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW

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. The hardware and software can be further developed and able to interface it with various systems for additional functions.

TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

Hardware

Hardware prototype is modified from existing Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. 2 different brands of VR headsets have been tried to explore comfort and ease of modification.

Key advantages of modifying existing commercial VR headsets

1. Comfort

  • It is assumed that VR headsets are designed for long hours 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

2. High adaptability of software functions

  • Given that VR headsets and their associated software are designed for gaming that requires multi-level interface of various scripts/commands, the software designed for this use can interface with it

 3. User-experience

  • Can offer both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional views to increase user-experience

Other features of hardware

1. 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.

2. Potential to be marketed as an add-on part to existing commercial products to reduce the cost of entire headset

Software

1.  It uses an algorithm to interpret eye movements

2.  Users are 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, especially if there are some eye or neurological conditions that limit eye movements.

3. Quick command keys can be easily customizable to allow quicker access

4.  Allow access to all features of the computer including typing, internet use etc.

POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS

Patients who are unable to speak and move their hands due to neurological conditions or medical issues often require alternative communication means eg. using their eyes to control a computer and type out messages.

Existing eye-tracking devices use cameras 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 movements 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 specialised mounting systems.

This product serves to meet the following aims:

  • Allow users who have poor neck control or are 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

Other areas/markets:·      

  • 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
  • Areas of work/life that require the hands-free operation of devices or remote access

 

Unique Value Proposition

Benefits of this technology for the users:

1.  Reduce dependence on communication partners

  • Customised communication charts are 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 users 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

2.  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

3. 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 a communication device
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