A new system, dubbed “Designing With Vision,” incorporates eye-tracking technology that could help release constraints on creativity imposed by computer-aided design (CAD) tools. Developed by researchers at The Open University and the University of Leeds, the system is devised to break down rigid distinctions between human and machine, helping designers to recover intuitive elements of the design process that are otherwise suppressed when working with CAD.

The researchers focused on an early stage in the design process that involves drawing, viewing, selecting, and manipulating shapes. Designers who work with shapes tend to intuitively home in on certain areas in initial sketches, using these as a starting point to move forward. The researchers are adding eye-tracking technology to a CAD system, giving the digital technology a more fluid human-machine interface. This produced a design system that could identify and select shapes of interest automatically within a drawn sketch, according to the designer’s gaze.

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Also: Read an interview about the unique responsibilities and challenges of working as a CAD designer of medical devices, part of NASA Tech Briefs’ “Meet Our Readers” series.