back to article Boffins build eye-controlled interface out of game-console cams

Neurotechnologists in London have invented a £40 device that lets you control computers with your eyes. Costing hundreds of times less than existing 3D eye tech it could revolutionise the life of the disabled say the team at Imperial University, allowing users to direct a wheelchair by simply looking at where they want it to …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... misleading title to the article there. While it's £40 (or is it twice as much for 2?) for the cameras, it's going to take a lot of time gluing them to a pair of glasses. :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slightly...

      Not really misleading, they are showing the cost 'off the shelf', if you were to buy direct and have it constructed offshore, the cost would probably be similar, at the very least a finished device would be sub £100, which would make a massive difference to disabled people, and of course anything that improves independence for the disabled lowers the cost for the able bodied masses that pay for everything.

  2. Matt 21


    Don't MS sufferers often get nystagmus? I wonder how well the system would work under those circumstances.

  3. SimonP

    Prior Art?

    The 3D stuff is new, but some graffiti artists did this about 3 years ago, and posted an instructable:

    Shame it never got the publicity it deserves - I'm sure there are thousands of lives that could be transformed by this tech.

  4. Isendel Steel


    That's the kit setup - now all they have to do is design a cost effective case for it - well done the boffins

  5. Antony King

    About bloody time. my kid has CP and a basic eye tracking system, that doesn't even work as a general purpose mouse type device, costs in the region of £10,000. I can employ a whole human for 4 hours a day for a year at that rate! (and in fact, his school do just that)

    I had a crack at doing this with glasses mounted cameras - the tricky bit is to work out where the head is pointing and subtract the difference - otherwise, my 'hacked together in my back shed' prototype actually worked quite well, provided you didn't move your head! You don't /really/ need to track both eyes, though if you have normal vision it'll give you some depth clues. Nystagmus sufferers are more likely to get problems if their vision is partially occluded, so two cameras might set it off worse than one. Anyway, that's why the good lord invented Kalman filters.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


      You need to track both eyes.

      Else how would you discern a mouse click from an involuntary blink? (Think about it too. Left eye, left mouse button, right eye, right mouse button)

      When you see a large rack... you tend to stare with both eyes! :-)

  6. Jacqui

    open tech

    Pity the research is not fully open. I know a few people at reading makerspace who are involved in

    building tech for the disabled/blind/... who may be interested in replicating this.

    With the lowering of video card GPU's its possible to do the sort of calcs via a battery powered device previously thought impossible or not cost effective.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: open tech

      "Pity the research is not fully open" ... in what way? Click through to the article and you can see that the full text is free.

  7. chipxtreme

    Basic cost £40, price after all the patent trolls demand payment for using their patents £1000

    1. Antony King

      Going by what Nobii charge, it'll be more than £1000 for the trolls.

  8. SeeSider

    Hmm, I foresee repeated crashes into buxom young ladies.

  9. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Definitely misleading

    First a thumbs up to the researchers.

    But the article is a fail.

    Comparing a portion of the cost of a system against the entire system is very misleading.

    This camera has to tie into a computer system which isn't part of the 40 pound cost. Then there is the cost of the software... So you still end up with an expensive system.

    Sorry but the software isn't free.

    I'm sure I will get a lot of down votes by commentards who haven't thought this through.

    1. Brian 6

      Re: Definitely misleading

      I think u have missed the point, this 40 quid camera system can be used with a 300 quid PC making a very cheap system compared to what was available before. Of course the software cost money to develop, but thats true of any system.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @Brian Re: Definitely misleading

        No, I didn't miss that point.

        Your cost in hardware isn't actually that trivial but the bulk of the cost is going to be in the software.

        (Which you belatedly admit ;-)

        You really don't expect anyone to run a wheelchair using this as input on completely open source with no proprietary software, did you?

        Or the liability insurance you'll need in case something happens to someone like driving over a cliff, or someone hacks their computer... (Or the wheelchair suddenly lurches in to traffic and the poor sod gets hit by a bus or garbage truck [lorry]...)

        You also have to realize that the use of this would be a very small niche environment. So you have a small user base to cover the cost of software/hardware/insurance/etc ...

        Like I said, I applaud the tech, spot on and with more research could lead to some other interesting devices. However... at best you could probably reduce some of the total costs but not by as much as you think...

        Now if you had said shoot the lawyers first... then maybe you'd have a chance.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Brian Definitely misleading

          > ...but the bulk of the cost is going to be in the software.

          That's very 20th century thinking.

          I think that you will find that the replication cost of the software is pretty minimal.

          They have done the grunt work already for the research.

          The per unit cost is what the are talking about here and that is hard to reduce to zero.

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: Definitely misleading

      @Ian Michael Gumby

      So what you mean is that my mouse which cost £3.99 is actually a lot more expensive because it has to be tied into my computer which cost me £300 to build...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "direct a wheelchair by simply looking at where they want it to go"

    Be very careful when looking out to sea, at scenery involving cliffs or high viewpoints, across the road, and so on...

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: "direct a wheelchair by simply looking at where they want it to go"

      A mate of mine was telling me about when he was learning to paraglide. He kept crashing into trees when trying to land, even if there was only one tree for miles around. Eventually he realised that it was because he kept looking at the tree: the paraglider was 'steered' in the direction he was looking because of subtle body movements associated with turning the head. Once he started making a conscious effort to ignore the tree and look only at a patch of empty field he was able to make perfect landings.

      So yes, steering a wheelchair by looking where to go is potentially dangerous as people tend to look at obstacles and hazards.

  11. Oldfogey


    - reminds me of.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019