Gaze Control Toolbar: A Low-Cost Software Solution for Gaze Based Computer Interaction
Gaze reactive accessibility software for computer control permits individuals with moderate or severe dysfunction of motor function to operate a computer exclusively via gaze. Unfortunately, the small size of the severely motor impaired community and the large fixed costs of developing accessibility software results in commercial gaze control software solutions being markedly expensive, with price ranges between 1,000–10,000 USD. The high price tag renders gaze control accessibility software unaffordable for a large proportion of the motor impaired population. Historically, open source gaze control software has been lacking. The few existing applications do not match the effectiveness, feature richness and software robustness of commercial solutions. In this work, an open source accessibility application for gaze control is presented that permits complete and customizable desktop computer control using only gaze interaction. The software depends merely on a low cost eye tracker geared by its manufacturer towards the gamers market (cost less than $200 per unit). Thereby, motor impaired users with limited financial means can benefit from gaze control as a means to interact with computers. The open source nature of the software also makes it possible for software developers and accessibility researchers to extend the application by adding innovative interaction methods and features stemming from accessibility research. The motivation for the creation and distribution of this software is grounded on the belief that accessibility research bears a responsibility in furthering a culture of dissemination of open source and/or low-cost assistive technologies that make the digital world accessible to all.
KeywordsAccessibility Gaze interaction Motor impairment Open source assistive technologies
The Gaze Control Toolbar software has been created and is actively maintained by successive student cohorts of the Bachelor of Information Technology at Otago Polytechnic during the course of their degree final year capstone project. The merits of the tool is all theirs, while the shortcomings are the author’s fault for having failed to provide better guidance to his students.
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