System scrolls text in time with user's reading speed

The technology utilizes existing eye-tracking glasses (Photo: Oliver Dietze)

It may indeed be a First World problem, but using a mouse or arrow key to scroll through blocks of computer text is a bit of a hassle – particularly for people lacking the use of their ams. That's why scientists from Germany's Saarland University and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence have developed a sort of teleprompter-like system, which automatically scrolls text at the rate that it's being read.

The system is based around a pair of commercially-available eye-tracking glasses, and software running on the computer.

Those glasses features two cameras – an infrared camera that faces towards the user, and another that faces out towards the screen. While the first camera tracks the user's eye movements and gaze direction, the other combines that information with a shot of their view of the screen, to determine what line of text they're currently reading.

The software, in turn, scrolls the text in order to keep that line centered on the screen. Because the system works in real time, the scrolling speed will increase or decrease as the user reads faster or slower.

Currently, up to three people can use the system on one shared screen, each person viewing the text on their own dedicated window.

Although users must presently use the special eye-tracking glasses, the researchers hope that the technology could ultimately be built into more commonly-used electronic eyewear such as Google Glass.

Source: Saarland University (German)

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