EyeContact: Scleral Coil Eye Tracking for Virtual Reality

International Symposium on Wearable Computers 2016

By: Eric Whitmire, Laura Trutoiu, Robert Cavin, David Perek, Brian Scally, James O. Phillips, Shwetak Patel


Eye tracking is a sought after technology for mobile and wearable systems, particularly for newly emerging virtual and augmented reality applications (VR and AR). Eye tracking solutions for VR and AR headsets primarily rely on optical tracking. Optical eye tracking techniques however have a limited frame rate and are custom designed for the optics of a particular headset. We investigate a wearable high temporal and spatial resolution eye tracking system based on magnetic tracking and using scleral search coils (SSC). SSC tracking is a magnetic tracking technique that delivers both speed and accuracy. However, SSC tracking is typically conducted with large generator coils, often several meters in diameter, and the subjects head is typically fixed. To overcome these limitations, in this paper we propose a wearable SSC tracking system. By mounting smaller generator coils on a headset, we fix the position of the coils with respect to the head, allowing the subject to move around and eliminating the need for a head mount or room sized coils. Our technique involves a unique placement of the generator coils as well as a new calibration approach to account for the less uniform magnetic field created by the smaller generator coils.