Tobii PCEye Go $2000
- Great live technical support
"Gaze Selection" is workable if people have Vocal disabilities and can't use Dragon[/*]
- Very fussy environmental set up
Will not be productive as a straight mouse replacement unlike SmartNAV[/*]
Usable with the "Gaze Selection" software, but as a mouse replacement add-on to Dragon NaturallySpeaking it is not a productive substitute to the SmartNAV head mouse.
Tobii has multiple models of its eye tracking hardware and software and I used the PCEye Go Modelhttp://www.tobii.com/de/assistive-technology/germany/http://www.tobii.com/de/assistive-techno...tobii-pceye-go/
The Tobii PCEye Go is a relatively small device that attaches to the bottom of your screen. I was able to get it to work, with its proprietary "Gaze Selection" software which is a fairly slick way to access most of the functions of the Windows computer. The proprietary software also has a built-in special on-screen keyboard. I used the built-in mapping software to limit the total area to the effective size of approximately a 19 inch screen and the physical screen size didn't seem to make a difference.
The built-in software has relatively large target areas for clicking and hence is much more usable than trying to use the PCEye Go device as purely a mouse replacement. While the resulting productivity using the proprietary software is poor, it would likely be preferable to a mouth stick keyboard and workable for disabled folks with speech difficulties who cannot use Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
However, for my use case the PCEye Go device does not work very well as a pure mouse replacement even with the magnifier/zoom functionality. The usability for my scenarios is nowhere close to the SmartNAV head mouse.
Just to be clear what I was trying to accomplish, as minimally acceptable functionality, was the following two tasks:
- Position the mouse pointer over an Excel spreadsheet with enough stability to be able to click the mouse by voice (Dragon NaturallySpeaking).
Hover the mouse over a corporate webmail client that is only really accessible by mouse and then be able to mouse click by Dragon[/*]
Being able to initially position the mouse by eye was not really the major problem. With my bifocals, even though I scored in the lowest accuracy category in the configuration screen (red) I could still position to an individual Excel cell. When I switched to monovision glasses without a reflective coating I scored in the middle accuracy category (yellow). When I switched to my contact lenses I ended up in the highest accuracy (green) accuracy category.
It is a little easier to get in the exact middle of the target area on my screen wearing contact lenses but surprisingly the increase in the accuracy score made a much smaller improvement in overall functionality because the bouncing of the cursor made it difficult for me to reliably execute the mouse click.
The primary problem with this device is that it is incredibly sensitive to reflections or background light hotspots. If I put it on a laptop, where a black T-shirt, use contact lenses and then put piece of black fabric over my head so that I’m sitting in a dark, black fabric, head tent, I could make the thing workable but that's really not a practical usage scenario.
However, in a darkened room along with the magnifier plus a lot of dedication on the part of the user the device does work.
Just to be sure that I wasn't being overly fussy, I reinstalled on one of my machines, the SmartNAV 4 optical head mouse. I can't use the SmartNAV for long periods of time because it bothers the pinched nerves in my neck. However, I was immediately able to become productive. The mouse pointer was stable to small points without noticeable pointer jitter. For this head mouse, the drivers for the SmartNAV 4 have very extensive custom settings for the fine-grained tuning of acceleration, drift, pixel accuracy (separately and horizontal and vertical plane), etc.
The Tobii PCEye Go drivers do not have similar settings which I think is unfortunate because as is, this eye tracking device is almost but not quite usable.
I started to feel the eyestrain after about 20 or 30 minutes of usage and tech support confirmed with the recommendation of using the PCEye Go 20 minutes at a time. If I tried to use this in a completely darkened room perhaps the infrared sensors would give me a "fry my eyes" sensation but I actually didn't notice that.
I also think that this device is really only going to be usable by young people because one of the difficulties with accuracy was that my right eye has developed a borderline "lazy eye" condition. This was clearly indicated by looking at the detailed calibration tracking information, therefore my binary vision does not track consistently across the screen. Plus I had difficulty freezing my gaze momentarily while I executed the DNS command. Since the "blink of an eye" is nominally 200 ms, it is very difficult for me to hold the gaze and get Dragon NaturallySpeaking to deploy a command, even a mouse click command.
The Tobii PCEye Go tech support people were excellent, patient and easy to reach. They led me through the detailed analysis of the calibration. I had absolutely no hassle with my return.