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MarISOT – Eye Tracking

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Eye tracking

by Timo Haavisto, project lead developer at TUAS

Both Varjo Technologies headsets (VR-2 Pro and XR-3) that are used in MarISOT have high-frequency eye-tracking capabilities, providing information on gaze direction, pupil size and blink rate.

Every eye is different, and users always set the headset slightly differently. Therefore Varjo headset requires eye tracking calibration when user changes or when the headset is taken off and put back on.

The gaze direction vector can be used to determine if the user is looking at specific object inside the environment. For example, if a line drawn through the gaze direction vector hits a button of the ECDIS in the virtual environment object, we can determine the user is currently looking at that button.

Therefore, series of gaze directions can be converted into a chronological list of gazed virtual environment objects, which provides a log of interest points. If the user has gazed at a particular other ship in the distance, it is a strong indication that the user has considerations regarding that ship’s path. All this information can be valuable for measuring the activities in the environment, and to verify that the user has noticed chains of events in the training scenario.

In addition to gaze direction of both eyes, also pupil dilation is measured. This provides indicator for focus and cognitive load that the user is experiencing. It is possible to gaze idly ahead, without focusing on anything in the environment, and pupil dilation is one of indicators used to determine if the alertness of the user has dropped. This is also a measurement for training and inspection of user’s activities inside the virtual environment.

Contrary to the common knowledge, blink of an eye is one of the slowest actions of the eye. Blink of the eye is also easy to measure: when a blink occurs, the pupil is not visible to the eye tracking. Also gazed direction is obviously lost in the process. The eye tracking of Varjo detects blinks, and maintains eye calibration though short loss of eye tracking. Closing eyes for longer period of time is however not advised, as is the case in any training scenario. Prolonged period of eye tracking loss triggers also the eye tracking calibration.

In upcoming Posidonia 2022 exhibition, we will finally reveal these achievements. The first experiences of eye tracking in command bridge scenario was introduced in: https://allaboutshipping.co.uk/2020/07/28/eye-tracking-technology-integrated-in-the-marsevr-maritime-safety-education-with-vr-technology-command-bridge-safety-vr-technology-by-tuas/

In the Posidonia 2022 exhibition, we will introduce our MarISOT application with all new features such as collecting eye tracking data.

For further information on MarISOT please contact  Prof. Dr. Evangelos Markopoulos (evangelos.markopoulos@turkuamk.fi) or Prof. Dr. Mika Luimula (Mika.Luimula@turkuamk.fi)

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