Showcased at the "ACM MobiCom 2018" event in New Delhi on October 30, the new technology improves player controls for gaming and allows for more accurate image displays.
By using near-infrared lights and photodiodes, Dartmouth's DartNets Lab created an energy-efficient, wearable system that tracks rapid eye movements and allows hands-free input of system commands.
"This is an exciting advancement for gamers, developers and other users of smart glasses," said Xia Zhou, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth and Project Lead. "It's the first-ever eye tracker that can fit into your everyday glasses and run without batteries".
According to the team, existing wearable eye trackers fall short mainly because of the inability to match high tracking performance with low-energy consumption.
Most trackers use cameras to capture eye images, requiring intensive image processing and resulting in high costs and the need for clunky external battery packs.
"We took a minimalist approach that really pays off in power use and form factor," said Tianxing Li, a PhD student at Dartmouth and author of the research paper, adding that the new system opens a wide range of uses for eye-tracking applications.
"By detecting the type of eye movement, the system can adapt sensing and computation. Some movements have predictable trajectories, allowing the system to infer subsequent pupil position and minimizing energy use." said Li.
The low-cost system can be used for augmented reality game and display systems.
By allowing for a more precise measurements of eye position, the system can one day eliminate the need for hand controllers and can result in more efficient rendering of images by display systems, meaning higher-quality images.