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La zgroup sa_-_the-need-for-budget-eye-tracking-solution

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La zgroup sa_-_the-need-for-budget-eye-tracking-solution

  1. 1. The need for budget eye-tracking solutionsProblem DefinitionFor many years, the situation on the market of technologically sophisticated eye-tracking devices isnot in favor of the final user. The cost of a nurse or a specialized assistant, which will help theparalyzed patient to communicate with the outside world, is high enough, but keeping him in aspecialized clinic or purchase an eye-tracking system for home use will be many times moreexpensive. Everyone cannot afford this, and combined with a costly course of treatment andrehabilitation, it becomes even less affordable. As a result, patients are forced to suffer withoutcommunication, which introduces additional negative aspects to the disease due to frequent stressand forced isolation.The situation is complicated by the fact that in most of the devices there is no possibility to changethe language used in text managing and typing, which creates a number of additional problems andfor many makes the imported eye trackers impossible to use. In addition, problems may arise withthe delivery and warranty repairs in case of any, even minor defects, as almost all of the majorservice centers are located exclusively in European cities and states. When importing devices fromabroad, because of differences in state standards, eye trackers of leading Western manufacturers canbe incompatible with intelligent control systems of home equipment. Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 1 of 6
  2. 2. In addition, given the cost of most eye-tracking systems, it is simply economically irrational formanufacturers to organize service centers and sales points far from the major financial centersbecause the individual orders there will not be able to recoup even a portion of the funds spent onthe construction and advertising. All this leads to the situation wherein regions with no advancedmedical centers, insurance companies are not able to pay for the long (and often lifelong) treatmentof the patients in case of paralysis, and the income level in these places does not allow people to buyexpensive equipment, so the costly eye-tracking systems are simply not delivered there.But this is not even the main problem. Most patients do not need a rich feature set; they do not needtheir eye trackers to manage home appliances and computer programs. They do not need additionalmodules for human speech synthesis, a large arsenal of options, and complex schemes of devicecalibration. They need only one - the ability to communicate.After all, when you think of how modern computing power grows, and even a budget laptop is ableto quickly and easily handle large amounts of information, including digitizing and analysis of datafrom an external camera. In this case you just need a video recording device and a program thatshows the patient the matrix of letters on a monitor, as when working with an assistant. There is noneed for costly multifunctional eye trackers. The device will be compact and mobile, able to workfor some time on internal battery, and will be 10 times cheaper and more practical than its Westernanalogues.It is hoped that a hitherto vacant niche of budget firmware sets of eye-tracking systems in mostcountries will soon be completed, and the paralyzed and remaining motionless patients will be ableto communicate with other people. After all, who else but they know the true value of each word? Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 2 of 6
  3. 3. Budget eye-tracking systemsPerhaps the only way out of this situation is the development of inexpensive eye-tracking systems.Many cannot afford expensive equipment, and the services of a qualified assistant are also far fromcheap. Moreover, the human factor should be taken into account: When working with the board ofcharacters, the assistant, in most cases, gets tired faster than the patient.Inexpensive but sufficiently effective eye-tracking systems can be created with a Notebook and awebcam. By analyzing the cost of the above factors, it is possible to assess the strengths andweaknesses of such a system:  The use of precision gear. The accuracy of a webcam is several times lower (compared to some of the professional devices 10 times) than the devices used in eye tracking; the frequency of shooting is also much lower. But to function with large characters, the accuracy is not an essential factor. The system based on a Notebook is designed to be used exclusively with the letter matrix and does not support the mouse pointer. For this reason small variations in positioning are tolerated.  Software development. Basic eye trackers do not require the development of a software set, as they will not support the mouse pointer or any external applications. Modules for speech synthesis will not apply either. Using a simple program will ensure simplicity and ease of interface with high reliability.  Essential functionalities. The sum of the capacities of Notebook combined with other additional software. Of course, the capabilities of a Notebook will not be available to patients with limited motor functions who can only use the letter matrix. But this will already allow them to communicate, by typing the text character by character such a simplified system created precisely for this objective. Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 3 of 6
  4. 4.  Brand, hardware support, and warranty costs. The simpler the software or hardware is, the higher its reliability and durability. Moreover, in the case of any serious damage to the equipment, like a laptop or webcam, it can always be effortlessly replaced. While repairing a professional eye-tracking device, its sensitive camera, the radiator, or the video-processing block can result in significant difficulties and should be fixed only by a professional service company.But, of course, the decisive factor in the improvement of this kit is its extremely low cost.Importantly, the system is a light, mobile, and doesnt require much to work.New nicheEye-tracking budget systems are unlikely to ever compete with the high-tech and multi-functionproducts. But this is not their objective; they will have a consumer niche. Their main and only usewould be to offer totally paralyzed individuals with a safe and inexpensive method forcommunication. And they completely succeed in this job.Solution from EyeComTecA group of developers from EyeComTec (subdivision of LAZgroup SA) creating software to helppeople who suffer from paralysis or considerably impaired mobility. Our mission is to developefficient and affordable technologies that will allow people to communicate with patientsexclusively through eye movement.Why the emphasis on affordability? Having analyzed the market of computer devices for paralyzedpeople, we came to an upsetting conclusion: the majority of the devices and software are too Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 4 of 6
  5. 5. expensive for the patients and their families to purchase. Of course, the big companies annuallyspend great amounts of money on improving the quality of their products, but regardless, the pricesare still too high. This is also due to the fact that the whole market is divided amongst a few bigmonopolistic companies.We consider these factors as a challenge to our own skills and knowledge. We are sure that thedevices for paralyzed people should not be so expensive, and we are planning to create workingmodels of the system based on notebooks with a built-in video camera (which costs less than $500).In case of non-commercial use, the software will be free of charge. As of now, we have createdworking algorithms and prototypes of the programs; in the near future, they will be documented andpublished on our site for free access.We understand very well that the developers should at least recover their expenses for the newtechnologies but, with this move, we would like to show that sometimes making profits is not themost important, especially when dealing with people who have a very hard life and who we canhelp. The programs available on the market are not ideal but we are trying to develop a suitable andaffordable product for those who really need it. Besides, if this creates competition in the field ofcomputer technologies, if other companies create products which are more effective and less costlythan the current ones, then we would consider that an unequivocal success.As our site develops we will also be gathering information about other technologies that are usefulto paralyzed people — a description of devices and software systems, peoples experience with usingthem, and users comments. The more information we can gather, the easier it will be for the users ofour site to make the right choice and the right purchase. The main thing is not to forget that qualityis not always measured by price. Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 5 of 6
  6. 6. AuthorLAZgroup - Business and Technology Solution s“LAZgroup S.A.” is software research and Development Company located in the city Geneva ofSwitzerland. Our purpose is research, development and exploitation of various modules, algorithms,libraries and software solutions in the field of computer security, artificial intelligence andalternative user interfaces; and all other activities in the field of IT.. Copyright © 2000-2013 LAZgroup SA (www.lazgroup.com) - Page 6 of 6

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