Ferranti eyes games market for head-worn tracker unit

Ferranti eyes games market for head-worn tracker unitRichard Ball
Ferranti Technologies is making production versions of its eye tracking system. The state-of-the-art electro-optics technology has been packaged in a compact design, easily worn on the head.
The system, first featured as a development project in Electronics Weekly (July 2 1997), integrates a miniature camera, holographic optics and signal processing. Using infra red light to illuminate the retina, it detects and tracks the user’s point of observation. When the tracker is attached to a video camera, the camera can follow and record exactly where the eye is pointing.  
The company says a wide variety of organisations have tested the tracker in its prototype form. Applications have included man/machine interface design, computer access for disabled people, researching human behavioural patterns and medical training.
“There’s still great interest from handicapped people for using computers,” said Richard Bettley, principal engineer for vision control systems at Ferranti.
He hopes the firm can find a high volume application: “A high volume application could be games control, which we’d love to get into.”
Such a market could bring the price of a tracker from today’s ?3,500 down to ?100. “There’s nothing in the hardware that would preclude the cost coming down that far,” said Bettley.

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