Conclusion and a Look to the Future

Conclusion and a Look to the Future

Mick Donegan (ACE Centre, UK), Päivi Majaranta (University of Tampere, Finland), John Paulin Hansen (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Aulikki Hyrskykari (University of Tampere, Finland), Hirotaka Aoki (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan), Dan Witzner Hansen (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Kari-Jouko Räihä (University of Tampere, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-098-9.ch025
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Abstract

Gaze-controlled computers had already been utilized successfully for well over two decades before the COGAIN project started. However, those actually benefitting from the technology were comparatively few compared to the numbers who needed it. During the five year course of the project, however, systems, software and strategies were developed that made this technology potentially available, given appropriate support and technology, to groups who might not have even considered eye control a possibility. As a result, gaze control technology was opened up to a much wider group of people. In this final chapter, we sum up research presented in this book and close it by presenting some future trends and areas with high potential for applied use of eye tracking and gaze interaction.
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Introduction

Even though eye tracking has a long history, only recently have the systems matured to a level usable and robust enough to be used beyond the lab (Hansen & Ji, 2010). However, those actually benefitting from the technology were comparatively few compared to the numbers who needed it (Donegan et al., 2005; Jordansen et al., 2005). During 2004–2009, the COGAIN Project (www.cogain.org) was a catalyst in moving gaze control forward as a computer access method. The range of beneficiaries and numbers of people using the technology increased dramatically, both in Europe and globally. A key development that took place during COGAIN’s five years was the creation of gaze control systems that, combined with appropriate software, could potentially enable people with a much wider range of disabilities to use the technology than ever before.

Prior to COGAIN, the limitations of gaze controlled technology restricted it to clients who were primarily literate, well motivated, had good vision and who had very little or no involuntary movement, such as that suffered by people with ALS/MND. During the course of the project, however, systems, software and strategies were developed that made this technology potentially available, given appropriate support and technology, to groups who might not have even considered eye control a possibility, such as those with severe involuntary head movement or visual difficulties (see Features of Gaze Control Systems by Cotmore and Donegan in Section 2). As a result, gaze control technology was opened up to a much wider group of people, including a significant proportion of the 2.5 million people categorized in Table 1.

Table 1.
Groups who could potentially benefit from gaze control technology, with a rough estimate of the prevalence and total number in Europe. (In July 2005, the estimated total population of the EU was 457,000,000.) (Adapted from Jordansen et al., 2005.)
Target groupsPrevalenceEstimated
total number in EU
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) /
motor neuron disease (MND)
6 per 100,00027,000
Multiple scleroses (MS)30 per 100,000135,000
Cerebral palsy (CP)200 per 100,000900,000
Spinal cord injury (SCI)8 per 100,00036,000
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)12 per 100,00054,000
Rett syndrome6.66 per 100.00029,970
Muscular dystrophy (MD)28 per 100.000126,000
Brainstem stroke153 per 100,000688,500
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)150 per 100.000675,000
Total2,671,470

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