The new myGaze eye tracker is a mainstream product that offers high performance at a low cost. It was used at last week’s EuroGamer Expo 2013 and illustrated the potential of the new myGaze eye tracking technology to enhance the enjoyment of many disabled as well as non-disabled gamers.
Many people with a range of disabilities find themselves unable to use their hands to control technology as well as they would like to, due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis, spinal injury and muscular dystrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), with 30,000 people estimated as having the latter condition in America alone. According to professionals in the assistive field, a long-time challenge for using gaze interaction for many potential beneficiaries has been its cost.
The German company Visual Interaction has now offered a solution to this problem: It makes its myGaze eye tracker, which can be used with various 3rd party applications, including video games, available in its online store for as low as €499.
Recently, SpecialEffect, a charity that uses technology to enhance the quality of life disabled people, acquired the myGaze Developer Edition in order to consider the feasibility of using this gaze interaction system with videogames such as DiRT3, Peggle and Fruit Ninja for people with disabilities. The myGaze system was one of the gaze interaction systems available for the public to try for themselves on the SpecialEffect stand last week at the EuroGamer Expo 2013 in London.
Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and CEO of SpecialEffect, an independent charity, talks about his experience:
“...While the myGaze isn’t designed to offer the range of features available on systems specially designed for the assistive market, it can nonetheless offer a level of performance that can enhance the enjoyment of people with a wide range of abilities, if it is used with carefully selected and modified games.”
The big question however remains - will eye tracking become a mass-market product with wide variety of applications available?
"Game changers like Google or Amazon have now accelerated the patenting and integration of eye trackers into their upcoming products," says Daniel Trifonov, Head of Business Development & Partnerships at Visual Interaction, "With our state of the art technology made affordable and the growing popularity of our online application store, 3rd party developers have in myGaze a robust platform to build a variety of applications for the future of gaze interaction in gaming, the assistive market and other application fields."
Visual Interaction (VI) has taken on the mission to provide easy to use and affordable gaze tracking and gaze based interaction solutions for broad professional, educational and consumer audiences and developers. VI collaborates with leaders around the world to create best in class solutions. For its superior performance VI myGaze trackers rely on eye tracking technology by SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) from Germany, for more than 20 years a leader in eye tracking solutions.
SpecialEffect is an award-winning charity that helps people with disabilities to benefit from the fun, rehabilitation and therapy of video games. They support people of all ages through assessments, equipment loans and equipment modifications.