These slides use concepts from my (Jeff Funk) course entitled analyzing hi-tech opportunities to analyze how the economic feasibility of eye tracking technology is becoming better through improvements in infrared LEDs, micro-projectors, image sensors, and microprocessors. The capability to track an eye’s movement can help us better identify tired drivers and equipment operators, understand the eye movements of retail shoppers, and develop better human-computer interfaces. Tired drivers and machine operators lead to accidents and these accidents lead to loss of human life and equipment damage. Retailers would like to better understand the eye movements of their customers in order to better design retail stores. Eye trackers would enable one type of human-computer interface, Google Glasses, to understand the information that users are viewing and thus what they want to access
Eye tracking is done with a combination of infrared LEDs, micro-projectors, image sensors, and microprocessors. All of these components are experiencing rapid improvements in cost and performance as feature sizes are made smaller and the number of transistors are increased. Improvements in image sensors have led to higher accuracy and precision where precision refers to consistency. Much of these improvements have come from higher pixel densities and sampling frequencies of the image sensors; the latter enables tracking even when there are head movements.
These improvements have also led to lower costs and cost reductions continue to occur. The cost of high-end eye tracking systems have dropped from about 30,000 USD in 2000 to 18,000 in 2010 and 5,000 in 2013. Further reductions will occur as Moore’s Law continues and as higher volumes enable lower margins.