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Eye-tracking with a Webcam

VicarVision and Noldus have received funding from the Dutch local government for this 24 month ICT-high tech project. In total an equivalent of more than 5 full-time staff members will be working on this project. We will develop a ground-breaking system for tracking eye movements using a simple webcam. In combination with our existing products, this will enable us to offer the world’s most advanced solution for measuring the experience of someone using a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Project Objectives

Imagine that you are a marketing or UX (user-experience) specialist and have made beautiful new content for use on an online e-commerce site. But what do those who see it think? Do they even notice it as they scroll down their news feed? Do they look at the logo that you spent so much time on making? Do they read the text you carefully wrote? To answer these questions, designers and user experience researchers use eye tracking to measure where and how test users look at a screen or an object. But the eye trackers currently on the market have two disadvantages. Firstly, they use expensive hardware. Secondly, they only tell you what someone is looking at, not how they feel about it.

In this project, we will solve those two problems by creating an eye tracking solution that works with standard cameras (webcams and smartphone cameras) and also incorporates the user’s emotional reactions when using the products. These innovations have the potential to substantially open up these markets.


Expected Results

Realizing the stated goals will require development of methods and tools that further push the state-of-the-art in this domain. Potential solutions such as: spatio-temporal neural networks, hybrid calibration techniques, low-resolution efficient CNNs will be explored extensively. We hope the results can contribute immensely to the field. A high-level overview of the innovativeness of the chosen method of development is illustrated in Figure 1 and its caption. At the end of the project, we will be able to implement this newly developed technology in our product and online service.


We highlight two very strong developments where EyeReader’s simple camera-based eye-tracking has great potential.

First, on a technical level – EyeReader will enable immersive device interaction field, which can be used in entertainment, trainings, tailored-communication; gaze-based communication, etc.

Second, on a commercial level, specifically in UX / Market Research / Human Factors, EyeReader will contribute to the development of the neuromarketing field, which applies neuropsychology to marketing research, studying consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli.

Read more about the results of the project on our blog.