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Eye gaze or eye tracking is a way of accessing your computer or communication aid using a mouse that you control with your eyes. The eye tracker follows your eyes with amazing accuracy to see where you are looking on the screen. You can then select the item you are looking at by dwelling (staring at the screen for a length of time), blinking or clicking with a switch.
Eye gaze systems work by having lights and cameras that are constantly sending and receiving information. The camera picks up light reflections from your pupils and translates the movement of your eyes into mouse cursor movements. It takes only seconds to complete a one-time calibration.
Anyone who may find accessing a computer or communication aid difficult using standard or other access methods. Eye trackers can assist users regardless of eye colour, glasses, contact lenses, lighting conditions or head movements. It is used by people with conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease (ALS), Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, spinal injuries, Rett Syndrome and people with profound or multiple disabilities.
Eye enabled communication software, such as Tobii Communicator 5 and Grid 3,provide access to a wide range of symbol and text-based vocabularies. The eye gaze is configured to snap to buttons on grids, making eye gaze easy to use.
Anything you would normally use a mouse to access, you can access with your eyes, and that is almost all software! Looking around the screen will move the mouse cursor accordingly, stare at a point on the screen or blink to click. Such freedom enables eye gaze students the opportunity to use the same software as classmates, play their favourite games and even access their favourite websites.
For information on what eye gaze devices are available and the differences between them, please read the article Which eye tracker?