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I'm an Information Technology student (bachelor's degree) and as a summer project, I'd like to develop a small "alarm" system for ALS patients in case of emergency situations.

I thought about tracking the eye movements of the patients via electrodes and then send the eye movement signals to the software system which I'm going to develop and then process the data. I'm planning to use Python programming language since I already have some experience on.

However, I don't have any experience with using electrodes, processing the signals to detect eye movements. Do you know any good and simple online sources for the beginners like me? I can't afford to buy books so I'd be grateful if you can suggest me free online sources.

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I believe this tutorial covers exactly what you are looking for. It describes how to use a relatively cheap kit ($150) to detect eye movements and eye blinks. It includes software and hardware information.

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Detecting eye movements is generally referred to as oculometry.

Oculometry can be performed using your suggested approach, namely with electrophysiological techniques. In this case the recordings are based on the dipole character of the eye. This characteristic results in detectable voltage differences when the eye moves with respect to a stationary electrode pair.

Oculometry can also be performed using an eye tracker (e.g., Liston & Stone, 2014)). This technique is based on recording the position of the pupil using infrared cameras.

A recent fairly detailed, yet accessible paper on electrophysiological oculometry can be found in Liston et al, (2016).

Eye trackers can be an interesting alternative for you. They come in a vast range of prices. Due to the advent of eye trackers used in gaming, there are highly affordable eye trackers on the market nowadays (e.g., from Tobii for a little over $100). The one I am using for scientific purposes in a clinical setting from SMI. it is CE marked and deemed safe. However, it comes with a price tag of over 15k. The SMI system, alongside the Arrington devices are used worldwide in clinical settings.

References
- Liston et al, Optomy Vis Sci (2017); 94(1): 51–9
- Liston & Stone, JOV (2014); 14(14): 1-17

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  • $\begingroup$ I thought about using infrared cameras but I read that infrared can damage the eye. There will be at least 1 ALS patient who will use the system which I'm going to develop so I don't want to cause any additional health problems for him. $\endgroup$ – ricster May 31 '17 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ricster - The eye tracker I'm using is CE marked and is deemed safe. Of course I can't assess other products let alone custom-built systems. $\endgroup$ – AliceD May 31 '17 at 10:06

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