EyeSeeCam wins prestigious award at Danish RoboDays

09/17/2009 : 14:06

Johannes Vockeroth from the EyeSeeCam-team at the award ceremony. © RoboDays

It was a unanimous jury that selected the RoboDays international robot award for the project EyeSeeCam. The award was presented last week at the annual RoboDays robot festival in Odense, Denmark, and is worth 10.000 Euros.

EyeSeeCam was chosen among 25 nominated research projects at the RoboDays robot festival exhibition. We congratulate the research group led by the CoTeSys principal investigator Erich Schneider, PhD. EyeSeeCam was initially developed at the Institute of Clinical Neurosciences of LMU Hospital under Prof. Thomas Brandt, in cooperation with the Institute of Applied Mechanics, Technische Universität München. The current versions were refined by Dr Schneider within CoTeSys and also used as a very useful tool in several other CoTeSys projects.

The EyeSeeCam is a novel head-mounted camera controlled by the user's eye movements. It allows, for the first time, to literally see the world through somebody else’s eyes. A mobile eye tracker system continuously directs the camera towards the user's point of gaze, so that the camera captures exactly what the user’s eyes see. It is based on the combination of two technologies: an eye tracker and a camera motion device that operates as an artificial eye. The challenges in designing such a system are mobility, high bandwidth, and low total latency. They are met by a newly developed lightweight eye tracker that is able to synchronously measure binocular eye positions at up to 600 times per second. The camera motion device consists of a parallel kinematics setup with a backlash-free gimbal joint that is driven by piezo actuators with no reduction gears. As a result, the latency between eye rotations and the camera is as low as 10 milliseconds. Therefore, the EyeSeeCam is one of the fastest eye trackers currently available worldwide. It can be used for studying cognitive behavior of humans, but also to guide robots or machines along points in space.

One of the jurors, Gordon Henrik Petersen, Professor at the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Möller Institut, University of Southern Denmark, said: „We awarded the EyeSeeCam because it is a tool with a high technological level, which has a great commercial potential and many different applications” In the official explanation it is mentioned that “the tool is technologically well build, because it applies human qualities to a machine”. In addition the jury recommended that the money should be spent on further development of the EyeSeeCam, so that the system can be used in other areas, such as game industry or remote surgery. This way a surgeon in New York has the opportunity to watch, when a surgeon in Odense operates. The opportunities are ceaseless. The EyeSeeCam team will use the money to create a camera-system for the head, which covers an angel of 360 degrees.

The award is presented at RoboDays robot festival to the research related robot project with the highest developmental potential and news value. The winner is elected by a jury consisting of business people from the robot industry and researchers from Danish knowledge institutions.