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Eye Tracking

The term of “Eye-tracking”  is used for all the techniques that record where a reader looks while he is watching something (packaging, screen, …).

The history of eye-tracking started in 1879 with Louis Emile Javal who realized that people’s eye movements weren’t continuous but with short stops.

It’s 50 years later that it was first used for the experimental research as for example in the field of psychology.

Different scientists were interested by this science, especially, in 1950, Alfred Yarbus who made a link between thoughts and eye movements. Thanks to the eyes displacements we were able to know what the user is looking at, what’s attracting him and then interprets his thoughts.

A huge growth in eye-tracking happened in 1970 thanks to a serious improvement of the ocular movements record’s technology.

How does it work ?

To follow the eye movements (the pupils more precisely), an infra-red light is sent to the eyes and with the reflection of that light, it’s possible to follow the retina’s movement. Technically, a calibration is needed at the beginning and then a 3D landmark.

Due to the twitches of the eye’s movement, only a part of the fixation position is used. We can interpret that graphically as heat zones. The areas where people watch will go from green to red, red being the most watched areas.

Modern Applications

The eye-tracking system is nowadays used in different department such as the medical field but as well in marketing.

In the medical sector, different use of this technology appears. Such as :

  • Mobility help
  • Communication help
  • Sleeping studies
  • Surgery

In the economic world, it is used to ameliorate the ergonomics of a website or to see what are the consumer’s habits to read a packaging. Those examples show the impact of an eye-tracking system to improve the navigation on a website or the capacity for a product’s package to be read.

Some other applications, such used by smartphones that followed the eyes of it’s reader so the screen scrolls by itself.

Finally, some future applications are on their way. Some examples of the benefits of an eye-tracking would be used for the road safety to prevent accidents. Another one is in the medical sector, for the quadriplegics.

What we can say at this moment is that technology is still improving day by day and is allowing a lot of things that weren’t possible before. And this technology is applied in a lot of sectors, that spread its benefits to the society.

 

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