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The EyeHarp: A Gaze-Controlled Musical Instrument

Title The EyeHarp: A Gaze-Controlled Musical Instrument
Publication Type Master Thesis
Year of Publication 2011
Authors Vamvakousis, Z.
preprint/postprint document
Abstract In the thesis, we present the EyeHarp, a digital musical instrument based on eye tracking. The EyeHarp consists of a self-built low-cost eye-tracking device which communicates with an intuitive musical interface. The system allows the performer to produce music in real time by controlling sound settings and musical events only through eye movements. The instrument can also be controlled using any input device that can take control of the mouse pointer, and thus it could be appropriate for many cases of people with disabilities. Following the EyeWriter' s initiative instructions, a €50 eye tracking device was constructed and used along with the provided open source code for getting the user's gaze coordinates on the screen. Having that as an input, the EyeHarp digital musical instrument was implemented in openFrameworks C++ toolkit. The user can play music in real time controlling the chords and melody of his composition through an intuitive interface based on the pie menus. On top of it, an arpeggiator machine and a step sequencer provide the opportunity of creating a harmonic and rhythmic background. Depending on the desired task, dwell time or screen button gaze selection technique is applied. A preliminary discount usability experiment is conducted having the eye gaze versus the head movements as input.