Playing 'Pong' with the blink of an eye (w/ Video)

Mar 26, 2010
Imperial student demonstrates how neurotechnology works.

University students have developed a computer game that is operated by eye movements, which could allow people with severe physical disabilities to become 'gamers' for the first time, they announce today.

The students, from Imperial College London, have adapted an open source game called 'Pong', where a player moves a bat to hit a ball as it bounces around the screen. The adaptation enables the player to move the bat using their eye.

To play the game, the user wears special glasses containing an and a webcam that records the movement of one eye.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The webcam is linked to a laptop where a syncs the player's eye movements to the game.

The prototype game is very simple but the students believe that the technology behind it could be adapted to create more sophisticated games and applications such as wheelchairs and computer cursors controlled by eye movements.

One of the major benefits of the new technology is that it is inexpensive, using off-the-shelf hardware and costing approximately £25 to make.

Eye movement systems that scientists currently use to study the brain and eye motion cost around £27,000, say the researchers.

Dr Aldo Faisal, the team's supervisor from the Department of Computing and the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, says:

"Remarkably, our undergraduates have created this piece of neurotechnology using bits of kit that you can buy in a shop, such as webcams. The game that they've developed is quite simple, but we think it has enormous potential, particularly because it doesn't need lots of expensive equipment. We hope to eventually make the technology available online so anyone can have a go at creating new applications and games with it and we're optimistic about where this might lead. We hope it could ultimately provide entertainment options for people who have very little movement. In the future, people might be able to blink to turn pages in an , or switch on their favourite song, with the roll of an eye."

Mr Ian Beer, who is a third year undergraduate from the Department of Computing, adds: "This game is just an early prototype, but we're really excited that from our student project we've managed to come up with something that could ultimately help people who have really limited movement. It would be fantastic to see lots of people across the world creating new games and applications using our software."

Researchers in Dr Faisal's lab are now refining the technology so that it can monitor movements in both eyes. This would enable a user to carry out more complicated tasks such as plotting a journey on screen. This might ultimately allow them to use to steer a motorised wheelchair.

Explore further: Innovative new supercomputers increase nation's computational capacity and capability

Related Stories

Leveling the gaming field

May 13, 2008

A new computer game developed by MIT and Singaporean students makes it possible for visually impaired people to play the game on a level field with their sighted friends.

Students Launch Audiball, an Xbox Community Game

Jan 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Most students like to play video games, but Georgia Tech students Holden Link, Cory Johnson and Ian Guthridge have built and are selling their own. Their game, Audiball, was launched during the first week ...

Video games shown to improve vision

Mar 15, 2007

According to a new study from the University of Rochester, playing action video games sharpens vision. In tests of visual acuity that assess the ability to see objects accurately in a cluttered space, game players scored ...

Recommended for you

Forging a photo is easy, but how do you spot a fake?

Nov 21, 2014

Faking photographs is not a new phenomenon. The Cottingley Fairies seemed convincing to some in 1917, just as the images recently broadcast on Russian television, purporting to be satellite images showin ...

Algorithm, not live committee, performs author ranking

Nov 21, 2014

Thousands of authors' works enter the public domain each year, but only a small number of them end up being widely available. So how to choose the ones taking center-stage? And how well can a machine-learning ...

Professor proposes alternative to 'Turing Test'

Nov 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —A Georgia Tech professor is offering an alternative to the celebrated "Turing Test" to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence. The Turing Test - originally ...

Image descriptions from computers show gains

Nov 18, 2014

"Man in black shirt is playing guitar." "Man in blue wetsuit is surfing on wave." "Black and white dog jumps over bar." The picture captions were not written by humans but through software capable of accurately ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Apofisu
5 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2010
Wheelchairs controlled by eye movement, so when you're checking out the hot chick walking by, your wheelchair will run her down.
trekgeek1
not rated yet Mar 26, 2010
@Apofisu

Can you think of a better way to start a conversation?
"Has all this colliding made you as hungry as I am?"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.