Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taiwanese Utechzone, the Spring gaze interaction system

UTechZone a Taiwanese company have launched the Spring gaze interaction system for individuals with ALS or similar conditions. It provides the basic functionality including text entry, email, web, media etc. in a format that reminds much of the MyTobii software. The tracker can be mounted in various ways including wheelchairs and desks with the accessories. A nice feature is the built in TV tuner which is accessible through the gaze interface. The performance of the actual tracking system and accuracy in gaze estimation is unknown, only specified to a 7x4 grid. Track-box is specified to 17cm x 10cm x 15cm with a working range of 55-70 cm.

The system runs on Windows XP and a computer equipped with an Intel Dual Core CPU, 2GB RAM, a 500GB HD combined with a 17" monitor.
Supported languages are Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English and Japanese. All countries with pretty big markets. Price unknown but probably less than a Tobii. Get the product brochure (pdf). 

Call for papers: UBICOMM 2011

"The goal of the International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services and Technologies, UBICOMM 2011, is to bring together researchers from the academia and practitioners from the industry in order to address fundamentals of ubiquitous systems and the new applications related to them. The conference will provide a forum where researchers shall be able to present recent research results and new research problems and directions related to them. The conference seeks contributions presenting novel research in all aspects of ubiquitous techniques and technologies applied to advanced mobile applications."   All tracks/topics are open to both research and industry contributions. More info.
  • Fundamentals
  • Mobility
  • Information Ubiquity
  • Ubiquitous Multimedia Systems and Processing
  • Wireless Technologies
  • Web Services
  • Ubiquitous networks
  • Ubiquitous devices and operative systems
  • Ubiquitous mobile services and protocols
  • Ubiquitous software and security
  • Collaborative ubiquitous systems
  • User and applications
  • Submission (full paper) June 20, 2011
  • Notification July 31, 2011
  • Registration August 15, 2011
  • Camera ready August 20, 2011

Face tracking for 3D displays without glasses.

A number of manufacturers and research institutes have presented 3D display systems that utilizes real time face and eye region tracking in order to adjust the stereoscopic display in real time. This means that viewers doesn't have to wear any funky glasses to see the 3D content which has been a limiting factor for these displays. Some prototypes and OEM solutions were introduced at CEBIT last year. At CES2011 Toshiba presented a 3D equipped laptop that uses the built-in webcam to track the position of the users face (appears to be built around Seeingmachines faceAPI). It's an interesting development, we're seeing more and more of computer vision applications in the consumer space, recently Microsoft announced that they've sold 8 million Kinect devices in the first 60 days while Sony shipped 4.1 million Playstation Move in the first two months.

3D displays sans glasses at CEBIT2010

Toshibas 3D laptop sans glasses at CES2011.

Obviously, these systems differ from eye tracking systems but still share many concepts. So whats the limiting factor for consumer eye tracking then? 1) Lack of applications, there isn't a clear compelling reason for most consumers to get an eye tracker. It has to provide a new experience with a clear advantage and value. Doing something faster, easier or in a way that couldn't be done before. 2) Expensive hardware, they are professional devices manufactured in low volume with the use of high quality, expensive components 3) No guarantees, doesn't work for all customers in all environments. How do you sell something that only works under specific conditions for say 90% of the customers?

Eye HDR: gaze-adaptive system for displaying high-dynamic-range images (Rahardja et al)

"How can high dynamic range (HDR) images like those captured by human vision be most effectively reproduced? Susanto Rahardja, head of the Signal Processing Department at the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), hit upon the idea of simulating the human brain’s mechanism for HDR vision. “We thought about developing a dynamic display system that could naturally and interactively adapt as the user’s eyes move around a scene, just as the human visual system changes as our eyes move around a real scene,” he says.
Two years ago, Rahardja initiated a program on HDR display bringing together researchers with a vriety of backgrounds. “We held a lot of brainstorming sessions to discuss how the human visual system perceives various scenes with different levels of brightness,” says Farzam Farbiz, a senior research fellow of the Signal Processing Department. They also read many books on cerebral physiology to understand how receptors in the retina respond to light and convert the data into electric signals, which are then transmitted to retinal ganglion cells and other neural cells through complex pathways in the visual cortex.
The EyeHDR system employs a commercial eye-tracker device that follows the viewer’s eyes and records the eyes’ reflection patterns. Using this data, the system calculates and determines the exact point of the viewer’s gaze on the screen using special ‘neural network’ algorithms the team has developed.

“On top of that, we also had to simulate the transitional latency of human eyes,” says Corey Manders, a senior research fellow of the Signal Processing Department. “When you move your gaze from a dark part of the room to a bright window, our eyes take a few moments to adjust before we can see clearly what’s outside,” adds Zhiyong Huang, head of the Computer Graphics and Interface Department. “This is our real natural experience, and our work is to reproduce this on-screen.”

The EyeHDR system calculates the average luminance of the region where the observer is gazing, and adjusts the intensity and contrast to optimal levels with a certain delay, giving the viewer the impression of a real scene. The system also automatically tone-maps the HDR images to low dynamic range (LDR) images in regions outside of the viewers gaze. Ultimately, the EyeHDR system generates multiple images in response to the viewer’s gaze, which contrasts with previous attempts to achieve HDR through the generation of a single, perfect HDR display image.

The researchers say development of the fundamental technologies for the system is close to complete, and the EyeHDR system’s ability to display HDR images on large LDR screens has been confirmed. But before the system can become commercially available, the eye-tracking devices will need to be made more accurate, robust and easier to use. As the first step toward commercialization, the team demonstrated the EyeHDR system at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009, an annual international conference and exhibition on digital content, held in Yokohama, Japan in December last year.
Although the team’s work is currently focused on static images, they have plans for video. “We would like to apply our technologies for computer gaming and other moving images in the future. We are also looking to reduce the realism gap between real and virtual scenes in emergency response simulation, architecture and science,” Farbiz says". (source)
  • Susanto Rahardja, Farzam Farbiz, Corey Manders, Huang Zhiyong, Jamie Ng Suat Ling, Ishtiaq Rasool Khan, Ong Ee Ping, and Song Peng. 2009. Eye HDR: gaze-adaptive system for displaying high-dynamic-range images. In ACM SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 Art Gallery & Emerging Technologies: Adaptation (SIGGRAPH ASIA '09). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 68-68. DOI=10.1145/1665137.1665187. (pdf, it's a one page poster)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Call for papers: ACIVS 2011

Acivs 2011 is a conference focusing on techniques for building adaptive, intelligent, safe and secure imaging systems. Acivs 2011 consists of four days of lecture sessions, both regular (25 mns) and invited presentations, poster sessions. The conference will take place in the Het Pand, Ghent, Belgium on Aug. 22-25 2011.


  • Vision systems, including multi-camera systems
  • Image and Video Processing (linear/non-linear filtering and enhancement, restoration, segmentation, wavelets and multiresolution, Markovian techniques, color processing, modeling, analysis, interpolation and spatial transforms, motion, fractals and multifractals, structure from motion, information geometry)
  • Pattern Analysis (shape analysis, data and image fusion, pattern matching, neural nets, learning, grammatical techniques) and Content-Based Image Retrieval
  • Remote Sensing (techniques for filtering, enhancing, compressing, displaying and analyzing optical, infrared, radar, multi- and hyperspectral airborne and spaceborne images)
  • Still Image and Video Coding and Transmission (still image/video coding, model-based coding, synthetic/natural hybrid coding, quality metrics, image and video protection, image and video databases, image search and sorting, video indexing, multimedia applications)
  • System Architecture and Performance Evaluation (implementation of algorithms, GPU implementation, benchmarking, evaluation criteria, algorithmic evaluation)
The proceedings of Acivs 2011 will be published by Springer Verlag in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science series. LNCS is published, in parallel to the printed books, in full-text electronic form via Springer Verlag's internet platform

February 11, 2011Full paper submission
April 15, 2011Notification of acceptance
May 15, 2011Camera-ready papers due
May 15, 2011Registration deadline for authors of accepted papers
June 30, 2011Early registration deadline
Aug. 22-25 2011Acivs 2011