Tracking Eye Movement from Your Ears: Unlocking the Power of Neuromarkers Through In-Ear EEG
Eye movement tracking technology has developed massively since their inception in 1908. The first one was developed by Edmund Huey and involved attaching contact lenses to the eyes of the user with pointers attached to them, meaning they would point in the direction the user would look. Obviously, things have come on a long way since then and with the development of camera technology we have now moved to the point where we can track eye movement with the help of a camera. These trackers shine infrared light into the pupil of the user and measure the changing refraction as the user moves their eyes.
This technology is used in many areas such as part of assistive technology, dyslexia and other neurological disorders studies, and even in design such as website and ad design. When utilized in these areas, they require additional equipment such as a camera mounted either on a computer monitor or the user themselves through the use of glasses worn on their face and head. These solutions come with various drawbacks, such as a lack of mobility in the case of the monitor mounted version, or uncomfortable or impractical glasses. One answer to maximize the mobility and comfort of the user could be to rethink how we measure this movement in the first place, something that IDUN Technologies has been working on, using our in-ear wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) technology.
After the release of our Guardian Development Kit in May of last year, IDUN has been working on ways to classify neuromarkers, the brain signals that are produced when an individual does something or reacts to external stimuli. Recently, we have been able to identify neuromarkers related to eye movement and developed a way to measure these changes in real time. The video below shows our CEO Simon Bachmann using the Guardian device and our machine learning algorithm to change the lighting on our LED logo depending on the direction of his gaze. The Guardian automatically calibrates to the user and then reacts to the eye movement without the use of an external camera and is in a form factor that is easily adapted and is already used commonly on a day-to-day basis, the ear bud.
IDUN Technologies hopes to develop this further and sees use cases in several domains such as hearing, brain computer interfaces (BCI) and AR/XR. The problem we are currently trying to tackle is that of the Cocktail Party Problem, where a larger collection of noise sources generate noise that then mixes in the air before reaching the ear of an individual. We hope that with our technology and combining it with audio technology, we will be able to focus the source of the sounds depending on where the user is looking and therefore help filter out external noises.
This research is still quite early in its development, but it could be the next step in eye tracking technology in a way that could allow it to be used in more contexts and be more accessible for everyone.
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