Rikki Razdan, Alan Kielar, Pat Stearns, and Melissa White
Woburn, MA

“This win for us is a great way to introduce our technology to a wider audience. We have been making eye-tracking systems since 1980, and we have been pioneering the technology. When we read about the contest in NASA Tech Briefs, we felt we were at the point where our years of methodically solving important problems to attain real-world eye-tracking were in a suitable form to present to the public.”
The intrinsic speed and precision of the human ocular-motor system makes the eye an ideal pointing device for human-machine interface. Eye tracking has not yet been exploited as a robust human interface with computers due to many technical problems, such as viewing a human face under real-world conditions, robustly identifying the eyes over a diverse population range, and the complexity of the real-time image processing tasks involved. Conventional high-accuracy eye tracking systems require the presence of an operator, and/or require the user to use a chin rest or wear an identifying marker so the eye tracking system can find the user’s eyes.

The Automatic Eye Finder & Tracking system automatically finds and accurately tracks both eyes of computer users, and calculates their precise point of gaze as they naturally view a computer screen. The functioning prototype consists of a face and eye image acquisition assembly mounted in front of and below a standard computer monitor. This imaging unit is connected to real-time parallel control hardware processors residing in a PC chassis. The imager is comprised of a high-resolution array, a wide-field-of-view infrared illuminator, and optics to obtain a clear in-focus image of the user’s face.

The real-time information can be used to speed up conventional mouse data entry tasks, as an input device for individuals with neuromuscular impairment, and for rapid target selection in moving environments.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/machinery_winner 

Honorable Mentions

Pars Rescue Robot

Amin Rigi, RTS Lab, Tehran, Iran

The Pars Savior aerial robot quickly moves toward drowning victims by user guidance and the activation of its savior system, which releases life tubes. The waterproof robot, with multiple life tubes, has the ability to save more than one person simultaneously. The robot lands on the sea surface, and uses artificial intelligence for accurate analysis of one’s condition. A FLIR heating camera and LEDs recognize victims at night, and the intelligence system activates when a person shouts for help.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/pars 

Mosolver = Motor + Resolver

Donald Labriola, QuickSilver Controls, Covina, CA

The Mosolver — a combined motor and resolver — senses position by adding a patented passive sensing circuit to the interior of the existing motor magnetic structure. The ripple current from the existing motor PWM drive provides the flux variation that allows the sensor to continue operation even when the motor is stationary. The sensor consists of a novel sense coil pattern on a polyamide flex circuit, and provides position feedback at 32,000 counts per revolution. The polyamide flex circuit material covers a wide range of temperatures, and is available in low outgassing as well as radiation-resistant formulations.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/mosolver