Virginia Patent of the Month – January 2024

Eyegaze Inc. has been pioneering eye tracking and eye-controlled technology since 1988. With nearly 40 years of experience, the company has primarily focused on bringing control and activity back to those with disabilities. One primary application is the use of eye tracking to allow user’s to “type” or select characters which can be typed out or read out by associated text-to-speech technologies.

When a user is writing an entire book based on their eye movements, precision and accuracy is paramount. The company continually conducts research and development to ensure their technology is always at the leading edge of the industry. Recently, the company has been granted a patent for their gaze-operated point designation technology.

The solution offers a method for controlling the display of three-dimensional (3D) objects or scenes on a two-dimensional (2D) display device. This invention employs a sophisticated process that leverages virtual camera states, user-designated display coordinates, and eye tracking technology to enable precise and intuitive control over virtual objects.

The method begins with the calculation of a 3D mathematical model surface from a multitude of points on the object or scene. A virtual camera generates a 2D image of the surface, and a target virtual camera state is calculated for each surface point. The user interacts by designating a 2D display coordinate, which is translated into a 3D object point on the surface. Through iterative adjustments to the virtual camera state, the display evolves, allowing the user to seamlessly navigate the virtual environment.

Eyegaze Inc.’s invention goes beyond conventional methods, introducing the use of eye tracking devices for user interaction. Users can select display coordinates by simply looking at a point on the 2D display, providing a natural and intuitive interface. This innovation is especially valuable in scenarios like medical settings, where traditional methods may be impractical for patients with limited mobility.

The invention incorporates dynamics based on time-based differential equations, enabling the human eye to visually track or follow the motion of the designated object point. This not only enhances user experience but also introduces a level of sophistication in virtual camera movements.

The patent also addresses the versatility of the invention, with features like smoothed averaging of receding 3D object points, iterative adjustments based on user preferences, and limitations on virtual camera state velocities. These features ensure a smooth and controlled interaction, enhancing the user’s ability to precisely navigate and interact with the virtual environment.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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