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Teenager Builds $300 Open Source Eye-Tracking System 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-it-yourself dept.
fergus07 writes "Developed by a 17-year-old electronics and programming whiz from Honduras, the Eyeboard system is a low-tech eyeball-tracking device that allows users with motor disabilities to enter text into a computer using eye gestures instead of a physical interface. This kind of system is not unique — there's plenty of eye tracking interfaces out there — but Luis Cruz has figured out a way to build the full system into a set of glasses for less than US$300, putting easier communication within reach of users in developing countries. He's also releasing the software as open source to speed up development."
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Teenager Builds $300 Open Source Eye-Tracking System

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  • Eyewriter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:41PM (#38082154)
    • My council-run workplace proxy blocks instructables.com - the site is classified as a 'security threat.'
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Man, those Jedi sure are paranoid.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Maybe they believe an autodidact employee is a threat to the business.

        • Well, I do work at a school...
          • by sgt scrub (869860)

            LOL. That takes irony to another level.

            • It also explains why our blocking policy is so strict. In more seriousness, Instructables is likely blocked out of fear a student might injure themselves while building something they looked up at school and their parents would sue. Either that, or a classifier once saw an article on their warning how to make something actually dangerous and decided that rather than go to the trouble of classifying individual articles they'd just block the whole site.
              • Back in my high school, Slashdot was blocked as a blog, while 4chan, and more amazingly, 12chan, were not. Also, all CNN.com was blocked as violence while foxnews.com wasn't. The people compiling those lists are fucking morons.
    • by zeroeth (1957660)

      The Eye Writer guys were at the Open Hardware Summit, their work allowed the graffiti artist Tempt to continue to create after he lost use of his arms and legs to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

      Their methods used webcams for eye tracking, while the articles method uses electrical signals from eye muscles http://www.ees.intelsath.com/EES-EOG.pdf [intelsath.com]

      The more the merrier!

  • by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:43PM (#38082164)

    ... if I did not had to use an eye-tracking device!

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:50PM (#38082212) Homepage Journal
    The US shareholders, their trust kids and this very real threat to generational wealth and long term patents.
    They invested wisely in medical tech and have the US market cornered with helpful devices starting at a few thousand $.
    If developing countries want the tech, let them contact USAID and get it the correct way.
    Overtime this tech will be made into low cost products and shipped back into the US - like pharmacy products are now from Canada and Mexico.
    • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:01AM (#38082274)

      This is either amazingly asinine or a brilliant troll because I can't work out which.

      If you (America) wants to keep the tech in-house, stop selling the manufacture contract to the lowest bidder, i.e. another country. Pony up with the money to build it in the US. Yes, the manufacturing costs will be much higher, but if you have a monopoly on the market for that particular product, then price isn't that much of an issue.

      All your debt, all your trade deficit. It's dead simple to fix. You could fix it tomorrow. Stop buying imported goods. You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically. Will you (the people) pay a lot more? Yes. Will your selection be smaller? Yes, greatly. Will it be better for your country? Sure it will. With some luck you might even then be able to start selling some of your goods overseas to help pay back that stupidly high debt.

      • Buy American? What kind of jingoism is this? Why should Americans discriminate on basis of nationality? You're aware that this sort of thing is against the law in America?
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:37AM (#38082422) Homepage Journal

        You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically

        But then how will we buy all the cheap shit from Wal-Mart that ends up in landfill?

        Nobody thinks of the Walton family, I guess and the effect this could have on them.

        And if Wal-Mart closes, then all those people who closed their small stores will have to go back to work in their own shops, instead of the nice jobs they have now as Wal-Mart greeters.

        • You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically

          But then how will we buy all the cheap shit from Wal-Mart that ends up in landfill?

          Nobody thinks of the Walton family, I guess and the effect this could have on them.

          And if Wal-Mart closes, then all those people who closed their small stores will have to go back to work in their own shops, instead of the nice jobs they have now as Wal-Mart greeters.

          Hey, the Waltons own an entire mountain, whereas I'm stuck renting a stupid apartment that I can't turn the heat down in.

      • You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically.

        What products? We're too busy drinking Fair-Trade Guatemalan Shade-Grown coffee with from Starbucks and talking on our Chinese-made iPhones while driving Fords build in Mexico... Who has time to make things - geesh. Now excuse me while I fire up the Sony and watch Survivor - the South Pacific looks really nice.

      • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:45AM (#38082464) Journal

        Tell me, Fluffeh, where did you manage to purchase your computer?

        I'd love to have a laptop that wasn't produced primarily with Chinese components, so I'm dying to find out where you got yours!

        • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @01:16AM (#38082582)

          Hey Maztuhblastah, yes, my PCs are made in the same place that your PCs are made. That's not how it has always been though has it - which is my point. The first microprocessors (Intel 4004 [wikipedia.org]) were built by Intel, which is an American company based in Santa Clara. The first microcontroller/microcomputer was built by the Texas Instruments, which was the TMS 1000. That company is in Texas.

          My point is that it isn't enough just to have a great R&D department in America. If you really want to keep profits, you need to have that great R&D and then build it at home. Will that mean that a US built computer (assuming all the manufacturing plants were there) would cost buckets more than a computer built with the same specs in China? Absolutely.

          The problem is that in trying to maintain profits companies look at (for the most part) fairly short term horizons. Will they be able to make more money by having a product built overseas where workers are payed a handful of beans per week? What isn't factored into the equation is whether that overseas manufacture will cause the plant down the road to close down due to lack of demand. Companies are insular in that they don't look for the best outcome of their community, their state or their country. That's where the government should be stepping in to either increase taxes on products coming in from overseas, or offering incentives to keep that industry on their own soil. Now, it can get stupid (see American sugar cane growers for a perfect example of this) but if the American people refused to buy sugar made from cane grown overseas, then the cane farmers would be quite happily able to maintain their own industry at home.

          While the choice to buy local can be difficult, do you think that GM or Ford would be in such a pickle if the American public were thinking of their country first and refused to buy Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and all those Hyundais?

          I live in Australia and while I understand that I cannot buy EVERYTHING I need as an Australian made product, I make sure to buy everything I can. That often means I pay a premium. We don't grow much rice in Australia these days, which is a bit of a shame. I also make a point to write to supermarket chains to point out a lack of choice. Recently I went to my local supermarket (one of the two large supermarket chains in Australia) and found that I wasn't able to buy beans that were made in Australia. There were even a number of bean tins that were branded by the supermarket - but made in Italy. If enough people made the choice to speak what they wanted - and they spoke with more than "I want the cheapest!" then we would have a much better debt position. People like Dick Smith [wikipedia.org] do wonders to point these sort of things out in the media - and I really wish that more people listened and did something rather than just nodding and forgetting five minutes later. For example, he has a product that competes with Redheads matches. It's called Dickheads [wikipedia.org]. The back of the box reads: We would have to be complete dickheads to let most of our famous Australian brands be taken over by foreign companies. Brands such as Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly, Arnott's, Speedo and Redhead Matches are in overseas hands. This means the profit and wealth created goes overseas and robs our children and grandchildren of a future. A protest from Dick Smith Foods. As Australian as you can get..

          You make the bed you will sleep in later. I am trying to make the best bed I can, and try to encourage others to do so too. That's all I can do.

          • by sd4f (1891894)
            Dick smith is a hypocrite, all his electronics stores revolved around importing the cheapest crap from overseas, so now for him to say buy australian is a huge backflip. Back when that was happening with dick smith, australia was still manufacturing lots of stuff, now we're just importing everything, whilst exporting the raw materials.
            • Dick smith is a hypocrite, all his electronics stores revolved around importing the cheapest crap from overseas, so now for him to say buy australian is a huge backflip. Back when that was happening with dick smith, australia was still manufacturing lots of stuff, now we're just importing everything, whilst exporting the raw materials.

              You do realize that the "dick smith" electronics store was sold to woolies in 1982? 60% in 1980, then the rest in 1982. Are you really talking about the store during the 70's? In addition, it does not make someone a hypocrite to behave in a different way to what the once did. Is the reformed alcoholic a hypocrite for wanting tighter alcohol regulation? You really haven't thought this through.

              • by sd4f (1891894)

                You do realize that the "dick smith" electronics store was sold to woolies in 1982? 60% in 1980, then the rest in 1982. Are you really talking about the store during the 70's? In addition, it does not make someone a hypocrite to behave in a different way to what the once did. Is the reformed alcoholic a hypocrite for wanting tighter alcohol regulation? You really haven't thought this through.

                It is about his stores before they went to woolies, ie, when he was running them. Now, i think you really havn't thought it through, because it's all good and well that Dick Smith has all his money from that venture, he hasn't reformed, the foods business seems to be more about media squawking than anything else that noone else does what he didn't do.

                If he was reformed, he'd at least acknowledge the fact, but hasn't, and won't, i think saying that he's reformed is drawing a really long bow, since your alcoh

          • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @03:48AM (#38083058)

            While the choice to buy local can be difficult, do you think that GM or Ford would be in such a pickle if the American public were thinking of their country first and refused to buy Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and all those Hyundais?

            I think you should read up on where the Toyotas (AL, KY, WV, TX, IN, MS*), Hondas (AL, OH), , Mitsubishis (IL) and Hyundais (AL) are made. Along with Benz (AL), BMW (SC), VW (TN*), and Subaru (IN).

            * Currently being built.

          • For example, he has a product that competes with Redheads matches. It's called Dickheads [wikipedia.org]. The back of the box reads: We would have to be complete dickheads to let most of our famous Australian brands be taken over by foreign companies. Brands such as Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly, Arnott's, Speedo and Redhead Matches are in overseas hands. This means the profit and wealth created goes overseas and robs our children and grandchildren of a future. A protest from Dick Smith Foods.

            And just look at what the Dick's website [dicksmithfoods.com.au] says:

            Dick Smith Foods - Guaranteed not grown downwind from a nuclear power station

            Not to mention that the Dickhead matches were _packaged_ in Australia from Chinese wood and sulfur, I think that you might stop using them as an example. Other than an example of shame and hypocrisy, that is.

          • by Larryish (1215510)

            There is something that you are missing in all this.

            Corporate execs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. This responsibility practically requires that decisions be made that are beneficial in the short term, in order to drive up stock prices.

            Failure to do so can result in dismissal or litigation.

            Want to fix the country? Dissolve corporations. You have 3 choices, bub: sole proprietorship, partnership, or nothing.

            • Sadly, just getting rid of corporations isn't really a great option. The bundle of laws that created corporations were created specifically to address problems that couldn't be easily solved with partnerships. For example, it wouldn't make sense to have a large company capitalized by thousands of individual partners, each of whom was jointly and severably liable for the actions of the company, and people wouldn't buy into such a business. Could you imagine your mother getting sued or thrown in jail because

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        See it more as a "own a brand in the USA", "make in China", protect in the US with a "Medical Devices" sticker model.
        Very low manufacturing cost, a cozy cartel market and "Medical Devices" laws keep it all safe.
        Everybody wins.
        http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s785987.htm [abc.net.au] shows what this cost for medical devices can do:
        "Dr Shetty insists heart care does not have to be as expensive as the World Health Care Organisation and international medical companies make it."
        "If you make an eco-machine which giv
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by stms (1132653)

        Contrary to popular belief the U.S. Government does not owe most of its debt to china it owes it to U.S. businesses.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @01:35AM (#38082636)

          This isn't about debt (more on that later though), it's about trade deficit [wikipedia.org].

          The U.S. has held a trade deficit starting late in the 1960s. Its trade deficit has been increasing at a large rate since 1997 (See chart [wikipedia.org]) and increased by 49.8 billion dollars between 2005 and 2006, setting a record high of 817.3 billion dollars, up from 767.5 billion dollars the previous year. The US last had a trade surplus in 1975. Every year there has been a major reduction in economic growth, it is followed by a reduction in the US trade deficit.

          Using the last few years, the US is literally giving other countries around five hundred billion dollars each year more than it is taking from them. That sort of economy simply cannot in any way, shape or form continue forever. It will eventually bottom out.

          Now, moving on to who does own US debt.

          As of January 2011, foreigners owned $4.45 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $9.49 trillion and 32% of the total debt of $14.1 trillion. The largest holders were the central banks of China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Brazil. The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 13% of the public debt in 1988 to 25% in 2007.

          Maybe that's not "most", but that's certainly some scary numbers. Sourced from United States Public Debt [wikipedia.org].

          • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:13AM (#38082768)

            Using the last few years, the US is literally giving other countries around five hundred billion dollars each year more than it is taking from them.

            And in return, the US is getting goods worth around $500 billion more than other countries. That's how trade works. If you want to export more than you take in, you end up with less goods in your market than elsewhere.

            There's always two things I find amusing in these discussions:
            * the idea that Americans are more deserving of running the world than others, and that if they can't run it, they'll take the entire construct down
            * the idea that the US trading with Mexico and Canada is somehow different than Texas trading with California, or Sacramento trading with Santa Clara.

            Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Fluffeh (1273756)

              If you want to export more than you take in, you end up with less goods in your market than elsewhere.

              Not at all. Manufacture more than you consume. Look at Germany for example. It exports a bit more than the US and imports buckets of goods - you can't say that a German has less access to goods than someone in America. Yet the German economy exports more than it imports [tradingeconomics.com]. The german people had a trade surplus of around 150 billion euros (that's around 200 billion US).

              Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

              That's a total fallacy. Take Greece for example, it's loaded to the eyeballs with debt, they are being forced to accept massive austerity measu

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by vipw (228)

                If Greece didn't "own" the EU, then it wouldn't get hardly any assistance. It's not humanitarian assistance that the EU is providing; they're attempting to limit damage to their own shared economy.

                • by Fluffeh (1273756)

                  I agree that the EU is doing this to protect themselves, but I can assure you, the countries offering money aren't going short themselves by handing over some cash to bail out Greece. Yes, they are handing over some Euros to protect their own dollars, but they won't be going through any austerity measures back home.

                  • Uh, you're not following the Euro crisis very closely, are you? Everyone is looking at austerity measures, and the Germans are particularly pissed because they would like to invest the money they're handing to Greece into their own economy. The entire reason there's a massive crisis is that no one knows if there's enough money in the entire Euro zone to bail out Greece, nevermind all the other countries that are having issues.

              • Look at Germany for example.

                Good idea. I happen to have lived there, have friends and family there and still read the news regularly about it.

                It exports a bit more than the US and imports buckets of goods - you can't say that a German has less access to goods than someone in America.

                Until you actually go abroad, you have no idea how rich the US is, and how flooded it is with goods. Walking through Target or any strip mall is a surreal exercise after going shopping in any European country. The amount of money slushing around in the US is astounding, and is better spent (i.e., can buy cheaper goods of the same quality) on products being imported. That's where the trade imbala

            • by submain (856941)

              Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

              That's not the case here. U.S. has acquired both debts and assets. If you want a bank analogy, here it is: you buy a nice car. You spent all your money on the car. Now you have to take a loan from the bank to buy food, but you are not willing to give up your comfortable car. Since the car depreciates over time, the bank owns you and your car.

          • by stms (1132653)

            I'm disagreeing with you I'm just pointing out that outsourcing manufacturing isn't our biggest problem.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        This is either amazingly asinine or a brilliant troll because I can't work out which.

        I think you're the asinine one if you can't see it's a joke.

        If he'd written "won't someone think of the poor proprietary software vendors being put out of business by open sores" maybe you'd have got it.

      • by elbonia (2452474)
        The second we say we only buy our own goods, other countries will say that wont take in American exports. And of the material that we do need to import, such as rare earth minerals, countries can easily increase the cost to try to make up for the lack of US purchases of their products. So it's not so dead simple.
    • by zachie (2491880)
      +5... funny? Wrong modding guys. This is very sharp criticism at its best.
  • Aye, aye! The eyes have it!

  • aim and fire weapons with it ?
  • ... eyes track you!

  • A huge boon to HCI. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RubberChainsaw (669667) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:17AM (#38082336)
    Currently this tech can only measure horizontal eye movements, which makes it limited for replacing a mouse. However, if they can approach the speed and accuracy of even a laptop's touchpad, then it may usher in a new era of interaction with a computer. We wont even have to touch our tablets to interact with them.

    Considering that the commercial eye-tracking devices my quick search found were all several thousands of dollars, this could be a huge step forward. I'm mightily impressed!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrooculography

      Doing the vertical motion is a lot harder than the horizontal one. I have worked on/with such a commercial system before and it is very unstable due to impedance issues among many others....

      • by tibit (1762298)

        EOG can be done right, if you know what you're doing. The way he is doing it -- it barely works. He cut all the corners that there were to be cut. The quoted cost ($300 USD) is pretty silly for what he has done.

        For noise mitigation and ease of use, you need a system that is physically small (forget any long wires) and uses integrated, reusable electrodes. It needs to be no harder to put on than eyeglasses. This seems like an obvious requirement. Who has time to play with electrodes?

        This means the following

        • by bmacs27 (1314285)
          Agreed, the news here is only that this was done by a 17 year old in central america. We built a better one for 300 bucks in my old lab with a medically rated power supply, and high speed data acquisition. I think the open-source video based approaches using a webcam are more likely to impact actual markets.
          • by tibit (1762298)

            I don't think that the age is much of a factor, I've seen more complex projects done by younger kids. Location (central america) doesn't tell us much by default either. Well, other than he probably had to pay higher taxes on everything, compared to U.S.

            Do note that a medically rated power supply is not sufficient by itself, you still need another layer of galvanic isolation between that and the body of your subject. Batteries and optical (either wired or wireless) or radio connection are a best bet if you'r

            • by bmacs27 (1314285)
              Yea, we had them completely isolated. Our data acquisition could go up to the 100kHz range. I know, that's not really high, but as you point out it was higher than necessary for the application. It just made it play nice with our other simultaneously acquired data. My point was simply that we basically rigged up a fairly professional EOG for roughly same expense. I agree with you, this is pretty low tech. It's all :-o WIRES! Being in Honduras I suppose meant he wasn't privy to a US education... but t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:17AM (#38082784)

    It'll never sell for $300 or anything cheaper than the established players because they're sure to have patents that this guy is infringing on and, well, you know that particular story goes...

  • wat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pence128 (1389345) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:37AM (#38082844)
    Mix equal quantities of cheap and nasty webcam, super-close-up lens and cheap sunglasses with the lenses popped out. Add "track the black circle" to taste. Serves 1. $10-$20.
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I was thinking in the same lines. That shouldn't be too hard to do, image recognition software combined with ever increasing computing horsepower should make that easy.

      The beauty of this design is of course that it's non-intrusive, no cameras dangling in front of your eyes blocking your view. And while the prototype cost $300, that includes all kinds of (in manufacturing) unnecessary components like an experiment board, and components bought retail instead of just what's necessary bought wholesale. Going f

    • Re:wat (Score:5, Funny)

      by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @05:08AM (#38083302)
      cheaper yet, stick a toothpick in each eye and simply use the keyboard.
  • My teenager took the trash out this week without being asked,
  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:14AM (#38084518)

    This is a clear violation of the following Microsoft patents.

    Patent No. 6,791,536 Simulating mouse inputs using non mouse device.

    Patent No. 6,897,893 Simulating mouse inputs using non mouse device.

  • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:56AM (#38085536) Homepage

    Can't this be done in software:
    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/opengazer/ [cam.ac.uk]

  • Good article, but that one line is pretty condescending.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

Working...