ECTtracker (EyeComTec Tracker) is an eye-tracking program that works in conjunction with applications to capture video and control programs. Based on the state of the eye (open, closed, one eye opened) it transmits the control key codes to the receiver program. Thus the user can run the program and type the text by opening and closing the eyes. Requires no installation and has flexible configuration options.
ECTtracker (EyeComTec Tracker) is an eye-tracking software which identifies visible actions performed by the user. It is mainly used to monitor the state of the user’s eyes (open or closed) but can also track the eyebrows or mouth. This software can be used in conjunction with different video capturing applications for web cameras or other devices connected to a PC (e.g. ECTcamera, Skype, Media Player Classic). ECTtracker compares different states of the user's eyes with assigned key codes, which can be further transmitted to any receiving application (ECTmorse, ECTkeyboard and many others). Software is extremely flexible and adjustable, as well as portable, and can be personalized for use for any specific user and the performance of a computer. In fact, ECTtracker is an alternative to smart computer vision realization.
Unlike many others similar in functionality programs, ECTtracker analyzes images using a special Matrix of Samples, which is unique for any specific user and environment (camera position, illumination, etc.). The program can be used by fully paralyzed patients and those who suffer from some form of impaired mobility. ECTtracker provides assured tracking of visible activity, even for those patients with physical damages of their face, injuries, burns and other post-operative/accidental states.
The software is fully customizable. The user can set an image recognition structure, matching levels between images and samples, video processing speed (in frames per second), idle time for cases when there's no image, and there are also emulated key codes to be transmitted into third-party receiving applications. The software contains more than 45 different parameters, which can be used to change appearance and functionality of ECTtracker. Some parameters allow the user to lower computing requirements, providing stable work even on computers with low performance levels.
ECTtracker has convenient interface and reach functionality for proper and precise setting and debugging. Initial setting procedure is simple due to its auto-calibration feature. Furthermore, ECTtracker supports various localizations, allowing patients to use the software in their own language.
ECTtracker is a highly practical and convenient application due to its ability to adapt to the physical condition of the user, different environments and computer system resources. A flexible setting process and an unlimited amount of user accounts makes it possible to use the application in any case.
The program’s main interface is shown in figure 1.
You can see the standard interface of ECTtracker on the image above. The numbers show various elements of the interface:
1 – main window of ECTtracker, which shows the processed part of an image, coordinate tracking net and statistic fields;
2 – grab-form, or so-called "target window" which allows the application to capture part of the image for analysis. In this example, grab-form is located above the active window of ECTcamera – the application for video streaming;
3 – the Matrix of Samples – the special table of the ECTtracker application, which contains small snapshots showing the user’s eyes in different states (both eyes open, closed, or only one eye is open). During its operation the software compares samples and the current image identifying the user’s state of eyes.
4 – debug window with graphic indicators. By changing the color of the stripe, the software clearly shows which sample corresponds with the acquired image. This window is used during the initial setting of ECTtracker and during determination of tracking quality;
5 – program log, which contains information about all the important actions and events. The log contains the date and time of tracking start and stop, structure selection and other data. All the information can be exported to a text file;
6 – the ECTtracker settings window, which contains all the parameters with a short description for each.
In order to provide a proper analysis of the image by program, it is necessary to first calibrate it and fill the Matrix of Samples. It is also necessary to change several parameters depending on the physical characteristics of the patient and performance of the computer. This is especially important during the first start of the application.
Advantages of using of ECTtracker
ECTtracker has a number of significant advantages over other software solutions with similar functionality:
- adaptation of the program to specific needs and the physical condition of each individual user. ECTtracker can work with both fully paralyzed patients and patients with various disorders of motor activity;
- perfect trainability. The program allows you to work in any environment: camera position, lighting, and user position. ECTtracker tracks eye state by comparing it with saved samples, providing high quality of tracking and stable work;
- unlimited amount of configurations. The program makes it possible to save configurations into separate files and switch between them quickly when needed. The small size of such files allows ease of storing them on any portable device and share using e-mail;
- portability and small size of the program allows running it from any external media device. ECTtracker does not require installation and does not make changes to the registry of the operating system;
- rich customizability and average technical requirements. ECTtracker provides stable work, even on computers with low performance, due to high configurability of tracking algorithms and graphical user interface;
- localizations. The program supports various languages of interface, which provides high level of comfort and allows users to work using their own language;
- simple and intuitive interface allows users to quickly familiarize with the program and change all settings easily.
The main feature of ECTtracker is the adaptation to the physical abilities of the user. The program can be used by both fully paralyzed patients and those who suffer from uncontrollable muscular activity (tremors, tics, etc.). In case of contrast marker usage, ECTtracker provides excellent quality, even for those patients with physical damages to the face: wounds, burns, singed eyelashes, postoperative eye conditions, and so on. The program has the ability to change the matching level between analyzed images and samples, as well as offering a wide selection of structures and other parameters which allow the user to adjust ECTtracker for their specific needs and provides optimal tracking results.
The favorable difference of ECTtracker in comparison with similar software is its perfect trainability, which allows users in any state to work with the program. The tracking algorithm of ECTtracker works independently to the position of the user, lighting or technical parameters of the computer. Nowadays most algorithms are made to be universal and normally their analysis is based on finding light and dark areas of the image, while ECTtracker allows creating a base of samples for tracking, which are unique for any user and environment (lighting or camera position). Such high level of trainability provides high quality of tracking in almost any case. ECTtracker keeps working, where other solutions fail (unable to identify human face or track eyes). As a result, the user can work with a virtual keyboard more confidently and faster, becoming less stressed at the same time. Furthermore, ECTtracker allows the user to enter symbols not only by eye blinking, but with any clearly visible movement or gesture. This feature can be used by patients suffering from most known types of physical disabilities.
All changes of settings performed by user can be saved as separate configuration files, making it possible to change such files "on the fly", allowing different users to work on the same machine. Recognition structures and personal settings are adjusted for specific needs of each user. The program allows creation of an unlimited amount of settings profiles, while small sizes of files allows ease of sending them through email or share in other ways.
Portability and the small size of the program allows ease of running ECTtracker from any external media device. ECTtracker does not require installation and does not make changes to the registry of the operating system.
Information fields of the main window of the program, an additional debugging window and a detailed event log are handy features for fine-tuning. Simultaneously, all debugging elements can be disabled during normal operation of the program. The ability to reduce the amount of processed frames per second can reduce the load on the processor and other system resources of the computer. This allows adjusting ECTtracker for comfortable and smooth operation, even on computers with low performance.
A simple and user-friendly interface allows performing initial configurations quickly and begin working immediately with ECTtracker. All the basic functionality of the main menu is duplicated with "hot keys" for quick access. In addition, ECTtracker supports different localizations, allowing users to work with the program in their native language.
Configuration of ECTtracker does not take long. In case of change in light conditions or body position, the user can quickly create new samples for tracking by using the auto-calibration feature. There is no need to delete old samples, because the program allows an unlimited amount of settings profiles and several Matrix of Samples.
All these features provide extreme flexibility in configuration and operation of ECTtracker.