Monday, April 23, 2012

Noise Challenges in Monomodal Gaze Interaction (Skovsgaard, 2011)

Henrik Skovsgaard of the ITU Gaze Group successfully defended his PhD thesis “Noise Challenges in Monomodal Gaze Interaction” at the IT University of Copenhagen on the 13th December 2011. The PhD thesis can be downloaded here.  

Modern graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are designed with able-bodied users in mind. Operating these interfaces can be impossible for some users who are unable to control the conventional mouse and keyboard. An eye tracking system offers possibilities for independent use and improved quality of life via dedicated interface tools especially tailored to the users’ needs (e.g., interaction, communication, e-mailing, web browsing and entertainment). Much effort has been put towards robustness, accuracy and precision of modern eye-tracking systems and there are many available on the market. Even though gaze tracking technologies have undergone dramatic improvements over the past years, the systems are still very imprecise. This thesis deals with current challenges of monomodal gaze interaction and aims at improving access to technology and interface control for users who are limited to the eyes only. Low-cost equipment in eye tracking contributes toward improved affordability but potentially at the cost of introducing more noise in the system due to the lower quality of hardware. This implies that methods of dealing with noise and creative approaches towards getting the best out of the data stream are most wanted. The work in this thesis presents three contributions that may advance the use of low-cost monomodal gaze tracking and research in the field:
  • An assessment of a low-cost open-source gaze tracker and two eye tracking systems through an accuracy and precision test and a performance evaluation. 
  • Development and evaluation of a novel innovative 3D typing system with high tolerance to noise that is based on continuous panning and zooming.
  • Development and evaluation of novel selection tools that compensate for noisy input during small-target selections in modern GUIs. 
This thesis may be of particular interest for those working on the use of eye trackers for gaze interaction and how to deal with reduced data quality. The work in this thesis is accompanied by several software applications developed for the research projects that can be freely downloaded from the eyeInteract appstore (