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Revision as of 06:28, 21 July 2009

COGAIN FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

  1. faq/index_html.1#toc01 What is COGAIN?
  2. faq/index_html.1#toc02 How can I join to become a member of COGAIN?
  3. faq/index_html.1#toc03 Where can I buy a COGAIN tracker?
  4. faq/index_html.1#toc04 What does "eye control", "gaze communication", "gaze interaction" mean?
  5. faq/index_html.1#toc05 My child/relative has this disability, can eye control help?
  6. faq/index_html.1#toc06 Which tracker is best for me/my child/my relative?
  7. faq/index_html.1#toc07 The systems are too expensive, are there any cheaper budget options or alternatives to eye control?
  8. faq/index_html.1#toc08 I want to build my own eye tracker, can you help?

1. What is COGAIN?

COGAIN is a network of excellence on COmmunication by GAze INteraction. It is a network which joins people who share a common goal. The members in the network are researchers, eye tracker developers and people who work directly with users with disabilities in user centers and hospitals. We share a common goal: to do research, develop the technology and spread information about eye gaze control and communication. We want people to know that they can use their eyes to communicate and control a computer.
Read more about_cogain/index.html About COGAIN.
Read more about the work done in about_cogain/workpackages COGAIN work packages.

See also:
association/index.html COGAIN Association
conference/index.html COGAIN Conference

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2. How can I join to become a member of COGAIN?

The best way to become a member of COGAIN is to join the COGAIN Association. More information is available at the web pages of the association.1 COGAIN Association.

It is no longer possible to join as a funded partner because the project is near its end (last funded year). The COGAIN Association will continue even after the funding from the European Commission ends. For individuals, the best way is to join the association.1 COGAIN Association. Companies and user centres may also consider joining one of the COGAIN advisory boards: boards/bia Board of Industrial Advisors (BIA) or boards/buc Board of User Communities (BUC)

The best place to meet COGAIN members and learn more about the work COGAIN does, is to participate the annual conference/index.html COGAIN Conference

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3. Where can I buy a COGAIN tracker?

There is no such thing as a COGAIN tracker. COGAIN is network (see above "What is COGAIN") that consist of people who share a common goal. COGAIN is not a system or a software, and COGAIN does not sell anything.

However, some of the members in the network are manufacturers who do sell their own trackers, for a list of eye control systems available for people with disabilities, see eyetrackers/index.html the catalogue of eye control systems targeted at people with disabilities

Members of COGAIN have also developed various applications that can be controlled by eye movements, for more information see results/applications/index.html Applications.

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4. What does "eye control", "gaze communication", "gaze interaction" mean?

Eye/gaze communication means that a person is using his or her eyes to communicate. All sighted people use eyes in their everyday communication. They look at a person they talk to or look at an object they interact with (e.g. look at a pencil before picking it up). Thus, eyes can be used to point at items. People who lack the control of muscle movement may still be able to move their eyes. In that case, eyes may well be their only means of communication. They interact and communicate by using their gaze.

Eyes can also be used to control a computer (thus "eye control" or "gaze control"). An eye tracking device tracks the persons eye movement and determines where on screen their gaze is targeted. Such "eye mouse" can then be used to control the mouse pointer on-screen (instead of hand mouse or head mouse). If the person is able to blink (wink) or press a separate button/switch, sip/puff or make a sound (voice command), then the target pointed by the "eye mouse" can be selected by using a separate switch. However, many people are not able to press a separate switch or cannot even blink, or such activity is very tiring for them. In such a case the selection of the pointed target can be done with a "dwell time", which means the user keeps the gaze on the target for a certain duration of time (e.g. 1-2 seconds), thus "dwelling on it" to select the item. More information about using the eye to emulate mouse and mouse button clicks is available in the user_involvement/d3.2/index_html#toc235 COGAIN Report D3.2: 2.3.5.

Eye tracking vs. Eye movement or eye-blink switches:
Eye-tracking is different from the eye-blink based system so that eye-tracking usually measures the direction of the user's gaze. With an eye-tracking based system, the user can directly point at the item by looking at it. Using an eye-blink switch system (without eye-tracking), the eye blink is used as a switch to select the item under focus. Usually the focus is moved from item to item using "scanning". In other words, the focused item is not selected by direct pointing (as with eye mouse) but the focus is moved from one item to another either automatically (automatic scanning) or by using a switch (user moves the focus from item to item). The user selects the focused item by eye blink (or wink). More information about scanning can be found in the user_involvement/d3.2/index_html#toc3224 COGAIN report D3.2: 3.2.2.4.
Eye blinks can also be used alone, for example, one blink could mean 'yes' and two blinks 'no'.

Please note that pointing by gaze is not as accurate as pointing with a conventional hand-mouse. More information about eye control, its potential and problems involved is available in the COGAIN reports and multimedia training resource at user_involvement/index.html User Involvement web pages

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5. My child/relative has this disability, can eye control help?

For some people, eye control is a necessity and the only option, for example, people who are totally paralyzed and who can only control their eye movements. For other people, eye control can be an option that is faster and less tiring than the other options such as switches. The COGAIN Report on User Requirements (D3.1) gives an overview of who can benefit from eye control, and also who may not currently benefit from it (partly because of limitations in the technology), see user_involvement/d3.1/index.html D3.1 User requirements report with observations of difficulties users are experiencing.

See also the "Who can benefit and how" part of the COGAIN multimedia training resource on user_involvement/eye-control-hints-and-tips/index.html Eye Control Hints and Tips.

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6. Which tracker is best for me/my child/my relative?

There are several different eye control systems available for purchase, for a list, see the eyetrackers/index.html Catalogue of eye control systems.

When considering which system to get, it is always recommended to consult an expert to make an assessment and to carefully trial which tracker is the best for each individual. The needs of individual end-users differ a lot and so do the systems and their properties. There are certain key issues one may consider when trialling an eye control systems, for more information see the COGAIN user_involvement/d3.2/index.html D3.2 Report on features of the different systems and development needs

See also the parts on "Planning and carrying out an eye-control assessment" and related parts (ergonomic issues, available software, etc.) of the COGAIN multimedia training resource on user_involvement/eye-control-hints-and-tips/index.html Eye Control Hints and Tips.

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7. The systems are too expensive, are there any cheaper budget options or alternatives to eye control?

The prices of the eye control systems vary depending on the tracker and its features, so it may be worth the while to ask for the price of several systems. Please note though that not all systems are suitable for everybody, so do not purchase any tracker before trying it out carefully!

This technology is still fairly new. We expect the prices to go down as it becomes more common. There are also eyetrackers/low-cost-eye-trackers "low-cost" and "open source" systems being developed but none of them are yet stable and easy-to-use enough to be used by people with disabilities.

For people who have some control over muscle movement, there are potential alternative controlling methods available, for more information, see the COGAIN Report D3.1, Chapter 5: user_involvement/d3.1/index_html#toc5 What potential alternatives to eye control are there?
See also:
- The COGAIN report D3.2, section 3.2.2 user_involvement/d3.2/index_html#toc322 "What range of access methods is required to complement eye-control?"
- "Access Methods Explained" section on the SpecialEffect Gamebase at http://www.gameonbeta.org.uk/GameControl/ for an explanation of different computer control methods, see especially the section on "Pointer ONLY".
- If the user retains some head control, head pointing or a "head mouse" may be an option, for more information, see http://abilitynet.wetpaint.com/page/Head+Tracking.

As a "first aid", you can use a manual eye communication board (also called "gaze communication frame"). It is a board with letters (or pictures) on it. One person (able-bodied) holds the board in front of the disabled person. The disabled person then looks at one of the letters (or pictures) on the board and the other person (who is holding the board) speaks out the letter to confirm that she interpreted the gaze direction correctly. Then the disabled person looks at the next letter and again the conversation partner speaks out that letter. This way a person can act as a human eye tracker who interprets the gaze direction. For more information, see faq/eye-gaze-communication-board Eye Gaze Communication Board.

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8. I want to build my own eye tracker, can you help?

There are some good starting points (open source software and research reports) on the COGAIN web page on eyetrackers/low-cost-eye-trackers Open source and low cost eye tracking.

You may also want to have a look at the COGAIN WP5 "Eye tracker development" workpackage's reports, D5.2, D5.3, D5.3, D5.4, D5.5, see results/reports/index_html#wp5 COGAIN Reports

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Did not find the answer to your questions? Please email your question to info@cogain.org, or fill a web form to contacts/express_interest Express your interest.