Eye tracking system could aid CAD designers

A novel eye tracking device that could help users of CAD to speed up the design process has been unveiled by a team of UK researchers.

The innovative system was created by engineers at The Open University and The University of Leeds as part of a 'Designing with vision' project. It is designed to identify what part of a drawing a designer is focusing on and enable CAD packages to suggest suitable shapes for them to use.

"Creativity is a fundamental building block of the design process," said Alison McKay, a professor of design systems at the University of Leeds. "Our eye tracking system identifies which part of the design sketch the user is drawn to, making the human-machine interface far more fluid. The result is a synergy between human ingenuity and machine-based digital technology."

The system has been extensively tested by groups of professional and student designers to ensure it works in practice. Prof Mckay maintained that the tests confirm that the combination of eye tracking technology and conventional mouse based input allow initial design sketches to be manipulated and developed according to the user's subconscious visual cues.

Laura Hopperton

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