Get access

EyeSeeCam: An Eye Movement–Driven Head Camera for the Examination of Natural Visual Exploration


Address of correspondence: Erich Schneider, Chair for Clinical Neurosciences, University of Munich Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Marchioninistr. 23, D-81377 Munich, Germany. Voice: +49-89-7095-4830; fax: +49-89-7095-4801.


The prototype of a gaze-controlled, head-mounted camera (EyeSeeCam) was developed that provides the functionality for fundamental studies on human gaze behavior even under dynamic conditions like locomotion. EyeSeeCam incorporates active visual exploration by saccades with image stabilization during head, object, and surround motion just as occurs in human ocular motor control. This prototype is a first attempt to combine free user mobility with image stabilization and unrestricted exploration of the visual surround in a man-made technical vision system. The gaze-driven camera is supplemented by an additional wide-angle, head-fixed scene camera. In this scene view, the focused gaze view is embedded with picture-in-picture functionality, which provides an approximation of the foveated retinal content. Such a combined video clip can be viewed more comfortably than the saccade-pervaded image of the gaze camera alone. EyeSeeCam consists of a video-oculography (VOG) device and a camera motion device. The benchmark for the evaluation of such a device is the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), which requires a latency on the order of 10 msec between head and eye (camera) movements for proper image stabilization. A new lightweight VOG was developed that is able to synchronously measure binocular eye positions at up to 600 Hz. 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 the rotations of an artificial eye and the camera was 10 msec, which is VOR-like.