The iCRAFT: A new avenue for eye tracking
Eye tracking researchers have explored the technology’s potential in the assistive technology market for years. From eye-controlled communication devices to environment control, there is little researchers have not considered when it comes to improving the lives and independence of people with debilitating diseases. Someday soon, we may be able to add feeding onto that list.
Those of us without a condition such as ALS or cerebral palsy can barely fathom a world in which we can’t manage to feed ourselves. Unfortunately, for millions of patients across the globe, this is a very stark reality. Researchers at Northeastern University are looking to turn that around.
The iCRAFT (eye-Controlled Robotic Arm Feeding Technology) is a robotic arm equipped with a spoon, three feeding bowls, and a custom-built power supply. The eye tracker is remote, so it is not intrusive. By looking at icons of the feeding bowls on the screen, a user is able to indicate which bowl he wants to eat from. Based on eye movements, the arm goes into action, dipping the spoon into one of the bowls and lifting it to the user’s face.
There are a few kinks with this new technology. The eye tracking can be a little inaccurate, and sometimes the moving arm obstructs tracker itself and interrupts the process. Overall, the system works well and was produced for a reasonable cost. Total, the students at Northeastern University spent less than $1,000 putting it together.
To get a better look at the machine, check out the video below!
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