Understanding Eye Gaze Technology and its Early History

Eyeware’s Sneak Peak on The Little Unknown History of The Eye Tracking Technology

Eye gaze technology is becoming more popular in the UK, yet still many people do not know exactly what eye gaze technology is.

There are many ways to measure eye movement. A common method is by extracting the eyes’ positioning through the use of video images.

Other popular methods incorporate search coils or an electrooculogram, a recording of the potential differences between the back and the front of the eye reported by attached electrodes.

As the name suggests, eye gaze technology measures eye movement and positioning. It is that simple, but this field of study has interesting implications and history that have enabled it to be all that it is today.

Just as there are numerous eye tracking technologies, there are various purposes for these sophisticated technologies.

Several industries incorporate eye tracking technology into their methods to perfect their products and understanding of human biology.

In psychology, the visual system is studied through the use of eye-tracking technology and the resulting findings are used to aid in the research for helping people with disabilities.

Product designers and marketers find this technology useful, too. They use the data and interactions to assess their products and then refine them to increase usability and enhance customer experience.

The study of eye movement, which is the main focus of eye tracking technology, essentially began in 1879 with Louis Émile Javal.

Javal reported that the eyes, when reading, do not move as smoothly as expected. In actuality, the eyes move in short movements (referred to as fixations) and rapid saccades.

Guy Thomas Buswell built the first eye trackers that were non-intrusive while working in his Chicago-based laboratory. He used light beams and recorded their reflections from the eye onto film.

One of the most revered and influenced studies conducted with eye gaze technology was performed during the 1950s by Alfred L. Yarbus, a Russian psychologist.

His studies reveal that the eyes’ movements are related to the observer’s thought processes and attention.

Yarbus demonstrated that different eye movements will result for each different problem presented to the observer.

Eye gaze technology has advanced rapidly within the past few decades.

Now, eye gaze technology is being used to assist people with disabilities to manage and cope more easily in their daily activities and lives.

Yet, it is still impossible to deduce what a person is thinking based solely on eye tracking technology.

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