The Salon Interview: Gaze-Driven Head-Mounted Camera

Johannes Vockeroth ( University Hospital Munich ) will present the Gaze-Driven Head-Mounted Camera project in the Salon at this year’s Medicine Meets Virtual Reality 17 conference.

Check the video report.

1) Please tell us more about the Gaze-Driven Head-Mounted Camera and what you will present at this year’s MMVR conference.

EyeSeeCam is a novel head-mounted camera controlled by the user’s eye movements. It allows, for the first time, to literally see the world through somebody else’s eyes. EyeSeeCam is based on the combination of two technologies: an eye tracking and a camera motion device that operates as an artificial eye. The challenges in designing such a system are mobility, high bandwidth, and low total latency. These challenges are met by a newly developed lightweight eye tracker that is able to synchronously measure binocular eye positions at up to
650 Hertz and novel piezo actuators, that means the camera is driven by ultra-fast motors that are not based on conventional electro-mechanical transduction

At this year’s MMVR we applied the new camera in a dental treatment while filling a tooth. In the video footage you can clearly see how well you can look into the cavity of the tooth via the mirror. The EyeSeeCam consits of two individual cameras, one for the wide-angle scene and one for the gazed detail. You’ll see that the area around the mouth is overexposed in the scene image but the gaze-driven camera provides an individual exposure for this area. As a result, the EyeSeeCam provides not only a higher spatial resolution but also a higher dynamic range.


2) Can the camera record what it actually sees. Is there a chance it could record a whole surgery?

Yes, a very fast eye tracker system continuously directs the camera towards the user’s point of gaze, so that the camera captures exactly what the user’s eyes see. The delay between measured eye movements and corresponding camera rotation are down to 10 ms. This is quite an impressive number if one considers that it includes eye movement measurement by aquisition, transmission and processing of eye images, as well as the mechanical actuation of a video camera. The camera can thereby reproduce the whole range of human eye movements. This video can be recorded, transmitted and displayed in real time.

A surgeon, for example, wore the 850g device during a sugery that lasted 2.5 hours. He documented the whole surgery from his view without missing any crucial event. Thanks to EyeSeeCam’s mobility and lightweight setup the surgeon reported that he was not restricted by the system.


3) Do you think doctors will use it in the future? Are there any legal aspects they should consider?

If EyeSeeCam should succeed in offering an additional benefit as compared to conventional video documentation techniques, doctors will likely use it in the future. It’s already very common to document surgeries with video cameras above the operating table or by an external camera operator. But often the interesting parts are covered by hands or arms. Essentially the motivation for a head mounted camera is similar to the motivation for a surgical headlight.

We are no lawyers but we think doctors have to consider the same legal aspects as with conventional video documentation techniques.

4) What are your plans for the next few years? Are you working on a new device or still improving EyeSeeCam?

EyeSeeCam still needs further improvements. The cameras, for example, are still too big. We will also expand possible uses of EyeSeeCam to other fiels like the examination of natural visual exploration in humans. In some side projects I’m using the camera to make short movies or support media art projects. So we are further looking for new applications and improving EyeSeeCam.

Further Salon interviews:


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