For people who suffer from disabilities like quadriplegia, it can be very difficult to communicate. In many cases, they require people to assist them in their activities of daily living. Unfortunately, they are often quite dependent because of the situation they are in.
Eye Tracking Supports Disabilities
Digital health has had many investments to improve the lives of disabled. It has not made them completely independent. However, that could all change with this new eye-tracking technology from Samsung in conjunction with DTS surround sound.
EYECAN is an eye tracking technology developed by Samsung engineers. It allows the user to highlight a series of options using glances or looks, then clicking with a blink. This type of technology could give disabled individuals the ability to communicate independently.
Currently being tested in Seoul, Korea, EYECAN+ was demonstrated by Hyung-Jin Shin of Yonsei University. He was a born quadriplegic to help test the technology and wrote the following message on his own:
“Nice to meet you, everyone. I am happy that the eye mouse is developed in Korea. The eye mouse isn’t just an IT device, but arms and legs for a patient with advanced disease. I hope that these kind of research will be continued.” -quote published by TheVerge.com
It comes to digital technology, it is difficult to have a bigger impact than the EYECAN+ has on the life of Shin. The whole message took about 20 minutes to type out (including a typo that was quickly corrected). To him, this is freedom, noting this is “arms and legs” for him.
Unfortunately, Samsung does not have plans to commercialize the product. Due to the high cost to manufacture, Samsung is planning to make the technology open-source for further development. This would allow for more renovation without costly restrictions.
There are other technologies that offer similar eye tracking functionality, like Tobii and Atrion services. However, they are more gaming focused rather than health driven. For people with advanced disabilities, the continuation of eye tracking development holds the potential for more freedom. We can only hope that the costs continue to decrease and the innovation continues.
Eye Tracking Technology Applications
In addition to helping the disabled, eye tracking technology is being applied to a variety of purposes. If researched and designed properly, tracking eye movement can change the way we shop, read, write, play or exercise too. Already, many companies are utilizing eye tracking to improve products and services that help us live safer overall.
One of the applications for eye tracking technology that is particularly relevant to the Google timeline in recent months is virtual reality. Eye tracking tech is the virtual reality implementation that makes augmented reality possible. Eye tracking features are required for foveated rendering, which is crucial for a part of VR that enables only a portion of the image to be rendered in full quality. This makes it possible to replicate natural human vision capabilities for rendering VR graphics that produce augmented realities. This is just one of many ways that eye tracking technology makes virtual reality gaming possible.
What do you think about Samsung’s latest product test in Korea? Do you know someone who could use this technology? Do you support the cause? If so, please share this post. Or, leave a comment below showing your support.
Image from http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/25/7279849/samsung-eyecan-plus-eye-mouse/