Eye Controlled Media:
Present and Future State

Thesis for the Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree in Information Psychology at the Laboratory of Psychology, University of Copenhagen

Arne John Glenstrup
Theo Engell-Nielsen
University of Copenhagen
DIKU (Institute of Computer Science)
Universitetsparken 1
DK-2100 Denmark
1st June 1995


Today, the human eye-gaze can be recorded by relatively unobtrusive techniques. This thesis argues that it is possible to use the eye-gaze of a computer user in the interface to aid the control of the application. Care must be taken, though, that eye-gaze tracking data is used in a sensible way, since the nature of human eye-movements is a combination of several voluntary and involuntary cognitive processes.

The main reason for eye-gaze based user interfaces being attractive is that the direction of the eye-gaze can express the interests of the user-it is a potential porthole into the current cognitive processes-and communication through the direction of the eyes is faster than any other mode of human communication. It is argued that eye-gaze tracking data is best used in multimodal interfaces where the user interacts with the data instead of the interface, in so-called non-command user interfaces. Furthermore, five usability criteria for eye-gaze media are given.

This thesis also suggests research into a new, interactive film medium: interest and emotion sensitive media (IES). IES exploits the viewer's eye-gaze and other affection measures to determine how script paths of an IES film are traversed. IES will be very difficult to implement today, as research is needed to investigate temporal problems in script construction, how multiple persons can use IES, how activation areas are constructed and how the producer of an IES film is best assisted in writing the script.

This thesis also contains reviews of current technical possibilities, psychological aspects of eye-gaze tracking and current eye-gaze based systems.


The Aim of this Thesis
List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction
2 Present-day Eye-Gaze Tracking Techniques
2.1 Techniques Based on Reflected Light
2.2 A Technique Based on Electric Skin Potential
2.3 Techniques Based on Contact Lenses
2.4 A Comparison of Tracking Techniques
3 Psychological and Physiological Aspects of Eye-Gaze Tracking
3.1 Eye Structure
3.2 Visual Selective Attention
3.3 Eye Movements
3.4 The Connection Between Eye-Gaze Pattern and Interest
3.5 Summary
4 Eye-Gaze Systems Case Studies
4.1 Paris Museum Application
4.2 The EyeCatcher at the Experimentarium
4.3 Summary of Reported Uses of Eye Tracking
5 Applicability of Eye-Gaze Tracking Techniques
5.1 How is Eye-Gaze Interface Control Different?
5.2 Natural or Voluntary Eye-Movements?
5.3 Multimodality
5.4 Main Problems of Eye-Gaze Interfacing
5.5 Usability Criteria for Eye-Gaze Media
6 Visions of the Future
6.1 Improved Eye Tracking Techniques
6.2 Interest and Emotion Sensitive Media
6.3 A Multipurpose Eye-Gaze Controlled Application: the "Cyberputer"
6.4 Future Research
7 Summary and Conclusion

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Authors: Arne John Glenstrup and Theo Engell-Nielsen