iShadow: Design of a Wearable, Real-Time Mobile Gaze Tracker

Mayberry, Addison, Pan Hu, Benjamin Marlin, Christopher Salthouse, and Deepak Ganesan iShadow: Design of a Wearable, Real-Time Mobile Gaze Tracker. 12th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services., 2014.


Continuous, real-time tracking of eye gaze is valuable in a variety of scenarios including hands-free interaction with the physical world, detection of unsafe behaviors, leveraging visual context for advertising, life logging, and others. While eye tracking is commonly used in clinical trials and user studies, it has not bridged the gap to everyday consumer use. The challenge is that a real-time eye tracker is a power-hungry and computation-intensive device which requires continuous sensing of the eye using an imager running at many tens of frames per second, and continuous processing of the image stream using sophisticated gaze estimation algorithms. Our key contribution is the design of an eye tracker that dramatically reduces the sensing and computation needs for eye tracking, thereby achieving orders of magnitude reductions in power consumption and form-factor. The key idea is that eye images are extremely redundant, therefore we can estimate gaze by using a small subset of carefully chosen pixels per frame. We instantiate this idea in a prototype hardware platform equipped with a low-power image sensor that provides random access to pixel values, a low-power ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller, and a bluetooth radio to communicate with a mobile phone. The sparse pixel-based gaze estimation algorithm is a multi-layer neural network learned using a state-of-the-art sparsity-inducing regularization function that minimizes the gaze prediction error while simultaneously minimizing the number of pixels used. Our results show that we can operate at roughly 70mW of power, while continuously estimating eye gaze at the rate of 30 Hz with errors of roughly 3 degrees.

ACM Link

ishadow_mobisys14.pdf1.75 MB