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Indian-origin Scientist develops Software that turns Smartphones into an Eye-Tracking device

A discovery that can help in psychological experiments and marketing research

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Representational Image- Eye. Image source: galaxys8info.com
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New York: Researchers led by an Indian-origin scientist have developed a software that can turn any smartphone into an eye-tracking device, a discovery that can help in psychological experiments and marketing research.

In addition to making existing applications of eye-tracking technology more accessible, the system could enable new computer interfaces or help detect signs of incipient neurological disease or mental illness.

Since few people have the external devices, there’s no big incentive to develop applications for them.

“Since there are no applications, there’s no incentive for people to buy the devices. We thought we should break this circle and try to make an eye tracker that works on a single mobile device, using just your front-facing camera,” explained Aditya Khosla, graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Khosla and his colleagues from MIT and University of Georgia built their eye tracker using machine learning, a technique in which computers learn to perform tasks by looking for patterns in large sets of training examples.

Currently, Khosla says, their training set includes examples of gaze patterns from 1,500 mobile-device users.

Previously, the largest data sets used to train experimental eye-tracking systems had topped out at about 50 users.

To assemble data sets, “most other groups tend to call people into the lab,” Khosla says.

“It’s really hard to scale that up. Calling 50 people in itself is already a fairly tedious process. But we realised we could do this through crowdsourcing,” he added.

In the paper, the researchers report an initial round of experiments, using training data drawn from 800 mobile-device users.

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On that basis, they were able to get the system’s margin of error down to 1.5 centimetres, a twofold improvement over previous experimental systems.

The researchers recruited application users through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing site and paid them a small fee for each successfully executed tap. The data set contains, on average, 1,600 images for each user.

The team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the University of Georgia described their new system in a paper set to presented at the “Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition” conference in Las Vegas on June 28. (IANS)

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This can help many doctors. If developed more, the eye tracking software should be able to sensor the eye defects also like Myopia, Hypermetropia, etc so that it becomes easier for the doctors and big machines would be avoided.

  • AJ Krish

    Technology has advanced so far to reduce human effort. This new software has wide range of applications and can also help detect signs of incipient neurological disease or mental illness. I believe that this research can revolutionize the medical world.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This can help many doctors. If developed more, the eye tracking software should be able to sensor the eye defects also like Myopia, Hypermetropia, etc so that it becomes easier for the doctors and big machines would be avoided.

  • AJ Krish

    Technology has advanced so far to reduce human effort. This new software has wide range of applications and can also help detect signs of incipient neurological disease or mental illness. I believe that this research can revolutionize the medical world.

Next Story

Scientists Unveil a Tool That Can Predict Eye, Hair and Skin Color From DNA Sample

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Genes are a part of DNA/RNA.
Genes- A segment of DNA. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel web tool that can accurately predict eye, hair and skin color from even a small DNA sample, an advance that can be used when standard forensic profiling is not helpful.

The “HIrisPlex-S DNA test” system is capable of generating all three pigment traits from human biological material together using a freely available web tool.

The tool is designed to be used when standard forensic DNA profiling is not helpful because no reference DNA exists against which to compare the evidence sample.

The study, conducted on mice, found that genetic variations in the genes that codes for protein POU6F2 may affect the structure of the eye and increase a person's risk of glaucoma. Pixabay
Eye, representational image. pixabay

“We have previously provided law enforcement and anthropologists with DNA tools for eye colour and for combined eye and hair colour, but skin colour has been more difficult,” said Susan Walsh, forensic geneticist at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the US.

Users, such as law enforcement officials or anthropologists, can enter relevant data using a laboratory DNA analysis tool, and the web tool will predict the pigment profile of the DNA donor.

“Importantly, we are directly predicting actual skin colour divided into five subtypes — very pale, pale, intermediate, dark and dark to black — using DNA markers from the genes that determine an individual’s skin coloration.

"This study provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat," said David Sabatini, an MIT professor of biology and the paper's another senior author.
DNA, Pixabay

“If anyone asks an eyewitness what they saw, the majority of time they mention hair colour and skin colour. What we are doing is using genetics to take an objective look at what they saw,” Walsh said.

Also Read: This DNA Test Can Screen Your Baby For 193 Genetic Diseases

The results are published in the journal, Forensic Science International: Genetics.

The innovative high-probability and high-accuracy complete pigmentation profile web tool is available online without charge, the researchers said. (IANS)