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What Is Computer Vision Tracking?

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  • Written By: Benjamin Arie
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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Computer vision tracking is a type of technology used to monitor eye movements in order to control an interface. This application is also called eye tracking, and relies on cameras and sophisticated software to operate. Vision tracking is useful for a wide range of purposes, ranging from standard computer interaction to easy communication for disabled people.

Basic vision tracking research was conducted as early as the 1900s. During this time period, scientists used photographic film to record light that was reflected off of the eyes. By studying the film, researchers gained clues about the patterns and movements that occurred when a person was looking at an object.

Modern computer vision tracking devices work in a similar way. Instead of capturing the reflections of visible light on film, however, today’s eye tracking tools often project infrared light onto the pupil. Digital cameras are used to detect the reflection of these infrared rays, and the resulting movements are interpreted by a computer. Some sophisticated vision tracking applications do not need the infrared light source, instead using software to isolate the round pupils of the eye.

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The information obtained by computer vision tracking can be very useful for developing improved displays and presentations. For instance, market research companies can use eye movement data to determine where a viewer looks at an advertisement, and his reactions to an image. Vision tracking data can also be helpful for detecting instances in which a person is distracted. This information can be important for skills that require focus, such as driving.

One common application of computer vision tracking is to select specific options on a monitor. Software that observes and tracks a user’s eye movements can be used to replace a standard computer mouse. Instead of physically moving the hand, a user can simply look at an area on the computer screen in order to make a selection. This allows the hands to be remain free, and can be especially valuable for intensive activities such as piloting and navigating an aircraft.

The hands-free nature of computer vision tracking can also make it useful for disabled people. Using special computer monitors and eye tracking cameras, paralyzed individuals are able to control devices and interact with others. Eye tracking programs designed for the disabled often feature a list of commands or phrases, and allow the user to form sentences using only eye movements.

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