Monday, June 28, 2010

Video-games can be beneficial!

Appears video-games can be beneficial your your eyes despite what mother said. Came across this article in the British Daily Mail, found it inspiring and believe it could be done even better with an interactive application using real-time gaze tracking input. Direct quote:

"A six-year-old boy who nearly went blind in one eye can now see again after he was told to play on a Nintendo games console. Ben Michaels suffered from amblyopia, or severe lazy eye syndrome in his right eye from the age of four. His vision had decreased gradually in one eye and without treatment his sight loss could have become permanent. His GP referred him to consultant Ken Nischal who prescribed the unusual daily therapy. Ben, from Billericay, Essex, spends two hours a day playing Mario Kart on a Nintendo DS with his twin Jake. Ben wears a patch over his good eye to make his lazy one work harder. The twins' mother, Maxine, 36, said that from being 'nearly blind' in the eye, Ben's vision had 'improved 250 per cent' in the first week. She said: 'When he started he could not identify our faces with his weak eye.  Now he can read with it although he is still a way off where he ought to be. 'He was very cooperative with the patch, it had phenomenal effect and we’re very pleased.' Mr Nischal of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, said the therapy helped children with weak eyesight because computer games encourage repetitive eye movement, which trains the eye to focus correctly. 'A games console is something children can relate to. It allows us to deliver treatment quicker,' he said. 'What we don’t know is whether improvement is solely because of improved compliance, ie the child sticks with the patch more, or whether there is a physiological improvement from perceptual visual learning.' The consultant added that thousands of youngsters and adults could benefit from a similar treatment." (source)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Speech Dasher: Fast Writing using Speech and Gaze (K. Vertanen & D. MacKay, 2010)

A new version of the Dasher typing interface utilizes speech recognition provided by the CMU PocketSphinx software doubles the typing performance measured in words per minute. From a previous 20 WPM to 40 WPM, close to what a professional keyboard jockey may produce.

Speech Dasher allows writing using a combination of speech and a zooming interface. Users first speak what they want to write and then they navigate through the space of recognition hypotheses to correct any errors. Speech Dasher’s model combines information from a speech recognizer, from the
user, and from a letter-based language model. This allows fast writing of anything predicted by the recognizer while also providing seamless fallback to letter-by-letter spelling for words not in the recognizer’s predictions. In a formative user study, expert users wrote at 40 (corrected) words per
minute. They did this despite a recognition word error rate of 22%. Furthermore, they did this using only speech and the direction of their gaze (obtained via an eye tracker).

  • Speech Dasher: Fast Writing using Speech and Gaze
    Keith Vertanen and David J.C. MacKay. CHI '10: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, To appear. [Abstract+videos, PDF, BibTeX]