Research hub Imec has introduced a new wireless eye-tracking technology that can be integrated into a standard pair of eyeglasses to improve augmented reality and virtual reality experiences.
The technology is based on electro-oculography (EOG), a technique used to examine eyes and record eye movement. The wireless eye-tracking technology could also be used for clinical research on neurodegenerative diseases.
Imec’s EOG technology uses five dry-contact electrodes mounted on a standard pair of eyeglasses that detect eye-movement. This method is less expensive and less bulky compared to AR/VR headsets with eye-tracking capability. Imec said the method can achieve a sampling rate of 256 samples per second, which is more than twice as fast as current camera-based solutions. Using Bluetooth wireless technology, the eyewear requires one battery in a small box behind the wearer’s ear while another small box contains the electronics.
In AR/VR applications, the EOG technology can be used to navigate interfaces and menus by using eye gestures, eliminating the need for hand controllers. Algorithms translate the eye movement signals into virtual commands — lateral eye movements can be used to swipe and turn, while blinking will trigger a move forward.
In medical applications, eye movement analysis is being used to study neurological disorders as eye movements are affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons or Alzheimers, even at an early stage. Imec said the EOG technology could be used for clinical research on early detection of these diseases or monitoring disease progression.
Imec is demonstrating the EOG glasses at this week’s Imec Technology Forum in Antwerp, Belgium.