Shaping the future of healthcare technology

Proven as a technology in assistive care, eye tracking plays a vital role in the detection and treatment of some of the world’s most prevalent diseases and conditions. 

Early adopter of eye tracking

The adoption of eye tracking by the healthcare industry has given rise to a new generation of data-driven medical solutions that provide new insights in the detection and treatment of diseases.

Eye tracking enables features in medical devices that improve working conditions by promoting safety and wellness, enhancing workflows, and adding security measures.

Eye tracking can be used as a performance enhancer. Through foveation technologies, devices can leverage eye tracking to reduce rendering loads, data transport, and even other resources such as X-rays.

Primarily, eye tracking applies to three areas of healthcare:

  • Assessment and therapy — the development of tools for brain and behavioral health, reading and learning, as well as vision and ocular disorders.
  • Medical technology — control of surgical robots, diagnostic imaging equipment, and other medical displays 
  • Assistive technology — communication and access devices, as well as vision aids.

Find out more about how eye tracking is a catalyst for innovation in Session #1 of our webinar series Eye tracking — an innovation catalyst for healthcare.

Session #1: Eye tracking 101

Assessment and therapy

Assessment and therapy

Medical research has highlighted the significance of eye movement patterns in the detection and treatment of some of the world’s most prevalent diseases.

Catalyst for innovation

Eye movements are a biomarker for traumatic brain injuries, diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and learning disabilities like dyslexia. The ability to leverage eye behavior is particularly beneficial in the detection and treatment of these types of diseases and conditions.

Several medical device manufacturers have leveraged Tobii’s technology in the development of objective assessment tools. Using tablet-like devices to capture eye movement, these solutions are non-invasive, deliver consistent data-driven test results, and provide therapeutic capabilities. Such solutions are particularly useful in the assessment of people who are unable to express themselves and for infants and children where early intervention is desirable.

Customer case
RightEye combines its cloud-based software solution with an adapted medical-grade, eye tracking tablet from Tobii to make the correlation between eye tracking and health more accessible for doctors, therapists, educators, and athletic performance professionals across the United States.

Download RightEye success story

Testing and therapy methods that leverage eye tracking tend to be non-invasive, making the experience more comfortable for patients, and eliminating the bias and errors of manual observation. The mobility of such solutions allows practitioners to serve people in remote locations as well as those who may not be able to travel.

Eye tracking data can be used to assess whether a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A simple eye test is a quick and objective way to determine if a person is impaired without having to collect fluid samples or other invasive measures.

Find out more about how eye tracking is a catalyst for innovation in Session #2 of our webinar series Eye tracking — an innovation catalyst for healthcare

Session #2: The future of medical assessments and treatment

Medical Technology

Medical Technology

Devices and machines that include eye tracking enable developers to build innovative applications, that can enhance workflow, facilitate skills transfer, provide additional security, promote safety and wellness, as well as raise computing and resource efficiency.

Enhance workflow

Eye tracking adds a new input method to the user interface without adding yet another peripheral or controller. It enables people to use their eyes to control objects. By embedding eye tracking in a surgical workspace, the user can, for example, control robots, pan and scroll, as well as select objects with their eye movements — allowing them to keep their hands on the controls and their attention on the patient.

Eye tracking can provide automation capabilities for repetitive QA tasks, alleviating workload in busy and stressful environments. An application could leverage eye tracking to automatically ensure that a clinician checks certain diagnostic information according to a schedule. Eye tracking can ensure that a person looks at a particular data point on the screen, and the application could display reminders when checks are overdue.

The point where a person is looking or events and objects that grab their attention can provide valuable insight. For example, in surgery, combining the surgeon’s gaze with camera feeds and other diagnostics creates augmented content— that can facilitate communication among clinical staff in the theater as well as enhance understanding for real-time observers watching a procedure from elsewhere.

The point where a person is looking or events and objects that grab their attention can provide valuable insight. For example, in surgery, combining the surgeon’s gaze with camera feeds and other diagnostics creates augmented content— that can facilitate communication among clinical staff in the theater as well as enhance understanding for real-time observers watching a procedure from elsewhere.

Find out more about how eye tracking enhances workflows, in our white paper, Why next-generation surgical systems will include eye tracking.

Facilitate skills transfer

Experienced clinical staff possess years of formal training as well as on-the-job know-how. As people become proficient in their fields, learning becomes intuitive — by doing, by making mistakes, and by devising best practices. This type of on-the-job know-how makes experienced staff highly valuable. It is also one of the hardest skills to transfer.

Instructional videos are an effective way of transferring skills from specialists to trainees.  Combining the surgeon’s gaze with the surgical camera feed can provide useful insights for other staff involved in a procedure. And recordings can be reused as tutorials. If the surgeon can provide a narration, pointing out their observations and describing their actions, the result is a valuable training asset — a powerful tool to transfer mechanical, subconscious, and hard-to-articulate skills.

An application can leverage eye tracking data to generate heatmaps and gaze plots that show what a skilled surgeon’s focusses on during a procedure — valuable content for trainees and observers.

Provide additional security

Upholding the integrity and privacy of patient data is a fundamental praxis in hospitals and clinics. State-of-the-art protection for devices and data systems together with strict routines ensure that access to information is on a need-to-know basis. With eye tracking, innovative and convenient security features can be created. 

Authentication procedures can use eye tracking to validate a user, replacing vulnerable and cumbersome access technologies that rely on logins and keycards with a touchless biometric solution that is simple to use, hygienic, and supports device-sharing.

It is possible to use eye tracking data to determine presence and attention.  If, for example, a clinical staff member looks away from a patient terminal, eye tracking can enable screen-blur — protecting the data displayed until the person returns their focus to the screen. The technology can immediately detect when a person walks away from a workstation, enabling a security application to take appropriate action, such as logging the user out of the system. Shoulder surfing can also be detected.

Promote safety and wellness

The health and wellbeing of patients and staff is a primary concern of every health service. Devices equipped with eye tracking provide organizations with tools to ease stress and reduce repetitive physical actions.

For example, limiting the area photographed by a C-arm X-ray machine to just the surgeon’s gaze region reduces radiation exposure for both patients and clinical staff.

Controlling devices with eye movement relieves workload on busy hands and improves ergonomics — helping to extend the careers of people who perform demanding and repetitive tasks.

Eye activity reflects user fatigue, drowsiness, and low concentration. An application can alert or cease operation if the operator is unfit.

Eye tracking data includes ergonomic measurements such as screen time, user position, and distance to the screen. An application can leverage this information to provide statistics and reminders to move or take a break.

Hospital information and automated check-in kiosks can benefit from eye tracking. Eye tracking allows users to interact with such a device, make selections, and find information in a touchless way — minimizing the spread of germs.

Discover how ControlRad, a medical device maker, has embedded eye tracking in its C-arm X-ray systems to lower radiation exposure for clinical staff and patients.

Raise computing and resource efficiency

Especially useful for mobile and tethered devices, eye tracking can improve battery life by reducing CPU loads. For example, by sensing whether or not a person is in front of the machine, and more explicitly, if they are looking at the screen or elsewhere, eye tracking can enable automatic dimming and sleep cycles with rapid wake-up.

Especially useful for mobile and tethered devices, eye tracking can improve battery life by reducing CPU loads. For example, by sensing whether or not a person is in front of the machine, and more explicitly, if they are looking at the screen or elsewhere, eye tracking can enable automatic dimming and sleep cycles with rapid wake-up.

Eye tracking can improve image quality without additional computational resources. By mimicking human vision, foveation removes the need to fully render an entire image, reducing the hi-res portion to just the area where the user is looking—dramatically reducing rendering time and resources without any perceived loss in image quality. When applied to devices such as virtual and augmented-reality headsets, foveation allows users to see content correctly, reducing nausea and fatigue, making these tools applicable to a broader audience.

Eye tracking supports operational efficiency with other critical resources. Using the surgeon’s gaze to control an X-ray machine is a perfect example, because it not only limits radiation exposure, it also ensures optimal usage of computational resources.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Augmented, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices, supporting the aging and people with disabilities, often rely on eye tracking to enable users to interact. 

Assistive technology

Eye tracking enables a person to control a device with their eye movements, making it a highly useful technology in assistance tools. These devices can generate speech, connect to the internet as well as other devices, and often include applications for writing, drawing, and creating music. They play a fundamental role in promoting independence by helping people with temporary or permanent disabilities to perform daily activities.

Discover how eye tracking is essential in assistive technologies for Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) — giving everyone a voice.

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Our aim is to provide you with the technology and expertise to integrate eye tracking in your products and solutions. Together, we can create a world where technology works in harmony with natural human behavior.

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