Eye tracking and iris recognition

Mobile telephones and tablets are being used ever more frequently for sensitive applications such as online banking. For this reason, secure methods of identification are becoming increasingly important. One of the most reliable methods is iris recognition. It involves illuminating the eye with infrared light. The device’s camera takes a photo of the iris and compares it to a stored template. This method is both quick and secure.

Another area in which invisible light can be used is eye tracking. The idea behind it is by no means new. In market research, for example, this technique has already been used for a long time. In the past, sophisticated cameras and light sources plus special software and hardware were required.

Eye tracking allows for new and promising applications, including in markets that are not as prominent but still very important, such as helping people with disabilities to use computers.

OSRAM is now taking eye tracking to a new level. The OSRAM SFH 4770S sensor is the most compact high-performance infrared LED (IRED) yet. Infrared LEDs produce one of the kinds of light that the human eye cannot perceive.

How IRED Works

The SFH 4770S is equipped with a high-resolution camera sensor. It registers invisible light differently to the way that humans do. When the infrared LED is pointed at a human eye, it is reflected off it. The image is then reflected back onto the camera sensor. Image-processing algorithms use the data to calculate the position of the pupil, thus determining where the person is looking.

An all-round technology

The fact that the system is so compact means that there are numerous areas of application for this technology. For example, it can be used for safety systems in cars. The area of smart homes is also an important field of application: eye-tracking systems can be a useful addition to voice-operated thermostats, as well as lighting, television and audio systems.

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