Apr 262010

Watch Where You Are Going

“Keep your eyes on the road!” Scientists at Freie Universität working under the computer science professor Raúl Rojas have given a completely new meaning to this standard rule for drivers: Using software they developed, they can steer a car with their eyes.

On the site of the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport, the head of the project, Raul Rojas, and his team from the Artificial Intelligence Group recently demonstrated how they can steer the vehicle that is equipped with complex electronics just by eye. More than 60 journalists from around the world were there to watch.

Information about the Software: EyeDriver

The eyeDriver software is a prototype application for steering the research vehicle Spirit of Berlin using eye movements. The software was designed by computer scientists at Freie Universität Berlin in collaboration with the company, SMI (SensoMotoric Instruments). The eye movements of the driver are collected and converted into control signals for the steering wheel. The speed is controlled separately and is not included in eyeDriver. The software shows that you can drive a vehicle alone with eye movements.

The HED4 solution by SMI is used for detecting and tracking the eye movements. It is a converted bicycle helmet equipped with two cameras and an infrared LED, as well as a laptop computer with special software. One of the cameras is pointed to the front in the same direction as the person wearing the helmet (scene camera), while the other camera films one eye of the wearer (eye camera). The infrared light supports the eye camera and is pointed to the eye under observation. A transparent mirror that reflects only the infrared light is used to allow a reasonable viewing angle for the eye camera, without limiting the wearer’s ability to see. After a brief calibration the software on the laptop of the HED4 is not only able to capture the position of the pupil in the eye camera, but can also calculate the position in the scene camera that the wearer is looking at. These coordinates in the image of the scene camera (viewing position) are transmitted via an ordinary LAN to the onboard computer in the Spirit of Berlin. The eyeDriver software in the onboard computer in the Spirit of Berlin receives the viewing positions at regular intervals over the LAN in the vehicle and uses it to control the steering wheel. The driver can choose between two modes: “free ride” and “routing.”

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