EyeContact: Scleral Coil Eye Tracking for Virtual Reality

Eric Whitmire, Laura Trutoiu, Robert Cavin, David Perek, Brian Scally, James O. Phillips, Shwetak Patel
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The EyeContact tracker uses five coils that generate oscillating magnetic fields. By examining the signal in the scleral coil worn by the user, we are able to reconstruct the eye's orientation. Our model is able to predict eye gaze orientation with a mean error of 0.094 degrees.


Eye tracking is a technology of growing importance for mobile and wearable systems, particularly for newly emerging virtual and augmented reality applications (VR and AR). Current eye tracking solutions for wearable AR and VR headsets rely on optical tracking and achieve a typical accuracy of 0.5° to 1°. We investigate a high temporal and spatial resolution eye tracking system based on magnetic tracking using scleral search coils. This technique has historically relied on large generator coils several meters in diameter or requires a restraint for the user’s head. We propose a wearable scleral search coil tracking system that allows the user to walk around, and eliminates the need for a head restraint or room-sized coils. Our technique involves a unique placement of generator coils as well as a new calibration approach that accounts for the less uniform magnetic field created by the smaller coils. Using this technique, we can estimate the orientation of the eye with a mean calibrated accuracy of 0.094°.