The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for “Systems and methods for counteracting a perceptual fading of a movable indicator.”
The patent deals with solutions to Troxler Effect that is “an optical illusion affecting visual perception. When one fixates on a particular point for even a short period of time, an unchanging stimulus away from the fixation point will fade away and disappear.” To create an effective gaze based tracking system and UI, Apple needs to account for Troxler’s Effect, which otherwise might lead to a poor user experience.
The patent granted to the company today provides us with an insight into how it will try to use a combination of hardware and software to achieve this. In one of the examples given by Apple, the company suggests using a hardware to track the gaze of a user and the blinking of his eyes to render the position of a cursor or any other object in the GUI.
Another example from Apple suggests using infrared sensors to track when a user blinks their eye and move the cursor during that time to counteract Troxler’s Effect. The sensor can use a sequence of images or track the pupil of the user to determine the time between an eye blink.¬†Lastly, the patent describes Apple using a technology to measure the distance of the user from the display and viewing angle.
Apple had filed for this patent on April 6, 2012 and credits David P. Julian as its inventor.
[Via Apple Insider]