History of eye tracking

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THE HISTORY OF EYE TRACKING
Pieter Blignaut
Lerotholi Thite
Ronnie Brown
RUBBER BANDS AND MIRRORS
• 1792: Wells used after-images (aka ghost images).
• 1878: Louis Emile Javal used a rubber band
to mechanically couple an eye to an ear –
thus magnifying the eye movement sound.
• 1878: Javal used mirrors and saw eye movements as a
series of jerks. These jerks were counted by placing a
microphone on a closed eyelid as a subject read
monocularly. Saccades were counted each time a bulge of
the moving cornea bumped into the microphone. The
French-originating term saccade was then introduced to
describe the jerky movement of the eyes.
LEVERS AND DRUMS
• 1897/8: Recordings of eye movement started with
Ahrens and Delabarre who fixed a small lever to the
cornea.
• 1898: Edmund Huey transferred the lever movement to a
surface covered with a black powder on a rotating drum
Edmund Huey
• Huey discovered that no data is recorded during
saccades but only during eye pauses (i.e. fixations).
COVERING THE EYES
• 1898: Delabarre attached a small moulded cap to the eye
together with a wire running from the cap to a lever, which
was able to draw horizontal movements of the eye on a
smoked surface of a kymograph cylinder. A subject could
then read text through a hole drilled in the cap.
CORNEAL REFLECTION
• When light is shone onto the eyes, it is reflected off
the cornea, referred to as the Purkinje reflection.
• The vector difference between the pupil centre and
corneal reflection is mapped to gaze coordinates.
CORNEAL REFLECTION
• 1901: Dodge and Cline developed the first non-invasive
eye tracker by using the reflection from a cornea. They
used a falling photographic plate to record only horizontal
eye position. The plate thus showed horizontal eye
motion on the X-axis and time on the Y-axis.
MOTION PICTURE PHOTOGRAPHY
• 1905: Judd, McAllister and Steel introduced motion picture
photography to record eye movement in two dimensions. A small
white speck of material was inserted into a participant’s eye and its
movement recorded.
• 1920: Two-dimensional eye movement recording was achieved by
recording head position by reflecting light off a pair of spectacles.
• 1930: Miles Tinker applied the photographic technique in the study
of eye movements during reading. Typeface, print size, page layout,
etc. were varied to determine their effects on reading speed and
eye movement patterns.
• 1947: Paul Fitts and colleagues used motion picture cameras to
study a pilot’s eye movement in cockpit control and other
instruments during airplane landing.
PHOTO-CHRONOGRAPHY
• 1937 - The photochronograph technique by Dodge was
further developed by Guy Thomas Buswell who also
included head tracking.
ELECTRO-OCULOGRAPHY
• 1939: Jung used electro-oculography to do real-time
processing of gaze data. Electrodes were attached to the
skin close a participant’s eye.
HEAD-MOUNTED TRACKERS
• 1948: The first head-mounted eye tracker was invented
by Hartridge and Thompson.
• 1950: Norman Mackworth
attached a camera on a
helmet.
• 1990: Land developed the first head-mounted eye tracker
that could successfully be used outdoors for research
studies.
ALLOWING FREE HEAD MOVEMENT
• 1958: Mackworth provided a visual scene to a participant
and recorded resultant eye movement
CONTACT LENSES
• 1967: Yarbus, a Russian psychologist used a camera
based system that involved tiny plane mirror attached to a
surface of a contact lens and some illumination. Its
reflection could then be recorded as a corneal reflection.
SCLERAL COIL
• A non-optical method used a scleral search coil, where a
contact lens is embedded with a pair of orthogonal wire
coils. These would trigger a magnetic field surrounding
the subject’s head.
MODERN DEVELOPMENTS
• 1970s – Advent of the computer. Until
then
analysis
was
extremely
painstaking. It was not uncommon to
spend days processing data that took
only minutes to collect.
• 1984: Card did the first usability test using eye tracking.
He was interested in how users search for commands in
computer menus.
MODERN EYE TRACKERS
Thank you

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