Fixation Detection for Head-Mounted Eye Tracking Based on Visual Similarity of Gaze Targets

Abstract

Fixations are widely analysed in human vision, gaze-based interaction, and experimental psychology research. However, robust fixation detection in mobile settings is profoundly challenging given the prevalence of user and gaze target motion. These movements feign a shift in gaze estimates in the frame of reference defined by the eye tracker's scene camera. To address this challenge, we present a novel fixation detection method for head-mounted eye trackers. Our method exploits that, independent of user or gaze target motion, target appearance remains about the same during a fixation. It extracts image information from small regions around the current gaze position and analyses the appearance similarity of these gaze patches across video frames to detect fixations. We evaluate our method using fine-grained fixation annotations on a five-participant indoor dataset (MPIIEgoFixation) with more than 2,300 fixations in total. Our method outperforms commonly used velocity- and dispersion-based algorithms, which highlights its significant potential to analyse scene image information for eye movement detection.