Eye-track robot could help disabled

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A student from Bradford University has developed a wireless robot that is controlled by the human eye. The project uses sophisticated eye-tracking technology which could change the lives of many people with disabilities.

Masters student Suraj Verma has created the robot, under the guidance of lecturer Dr Prashant Pillai in the University’s School of Engineering, Design and Technology.

The project, called Intelligent Recognition for Interactive Systems (IRIS) Communication, has been developed to employ eye-tracking technology in the fields of robotic navigation, home automation and media and marketing research.

A head-mounted eye tracker detects the movement of the human eye and accordingly controls the navigation of the robot via Bluetooth. In addition, the system can also turn lights and other electrical appliances in the room on or off using the X10 wireless protocol – an open standard for wireless control of household electronic devices using bursts of radio frequency signals.

The project’s main aim was to aid physically challenged people in communicating and being able to control their household appliances. Dr Pillai said: “The advanced eye-tracking technology used in this project has several practical future applications in the research area of assisted living, especially for the disabled. The technology used in this project could be extended to control an electric wheelchair by just looking in the direction in which you want it to go, and this is what we would like to explore next.”

The system can also be developed to control a computer mouse, browse the internet, replace game controls and operate a mobile phone via the computer.

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