NYC teen's eye-tracking computer project
A local high school student has created technology that may impact the way all of us use computers. Harsh Baid, 17, of Bronx Science, wrote a piece of code that allows him to navigate the world of his favorite video game by moving his eyes.
His project is enhancing gaming interfaces via gaze tracking. Baid approached Professor Lucas Parra, a professor of biomedical engineering at City College, to be his mentor.
Baid shadowed one of Parra's graduate students who rigged an eye-scanner to a drone allowing the pilot to control the device's flight path by moving his eyes.
In that case, a AR.Drone quadricopter was controlled using an EyeLink 2000 eye-tracker. The drone pivots left and right when the operator looks into those directions. It tilts up and down (making it fly backwards and forwards) when the operator looks up or down.
Many eye trackers cost more than $10,000. Baid purchased a newer model for $100 and released it on what he knew best: video games.
Microsoft bought the online game Minecraft for $2.5 billion. Approximately 26 million players across the globe enjoy what Baid calls Minecraft's "open-sandbox world." With video game manufacturers now looking to create more immersive gaming experiences, Harsh sought to do the same with what he calls "eye craft," a replacement for the mouse.
The evolution of human-computer interaction continues to move forward. Something like eye-tracking might allow the disabled or paralyzed to use a computer or a gamer to play without a controller.
A piece of code allows Baid to play his favorite computer game one-handed. But with eye-tracking and biomedical engineering poised to infiltrate and potentially revolutionize seemingly every field, it's what this teenager might create when he returns to the whiteboards of the future that leaves Baid, his mentor, and hiring managers in the web development and server administration fields so excited about the eye-craft of today.