Eye-tracking in Augmented Reality

The paper by Poole et. al. discusses in details the metrics used in eye-tracking research and some of its application. However, the paper failed to mention one of the most successful commercial usage of the technology. Canon introduced SLR cameras from as early as 1992 which employed eye-controlled autofocus. The system worked very well and has led to a lot of discussion amongst photographers as to why Canon does not include this technology in their recent cameras.

Now with the coming of augmented reality systems, eye-tracking technology has the potential to revolutionize how users interact with their surroundings. Ubiquity is the most important requirement for any augmented reality system. Eye-tracking technology can be used to detect when the user seems to be confused and accordingly provide him with contextual information. Such application of augmented reality will be less intrusive and more usable in a day to day life. Eye-tracking technology can be further coupled with other technology such as GPS to make augmented reality systems more usable by increasing the speed at which it detects objects. The location information provided by the GPS can be used to narrow down the search space for the object.  For example, if a tourist is staring at the Eiffel Tower, then the system knows that he is located near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Hence the search space where the system needs to search for similar looking objects is greatly reduced.

The whole domain of augmented reality is still in its infancy and it is up to the imagination of the engineers to find supplementary technologies that might be used to enhance the system.

- Dipto Sarkar


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