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The Eyes Have It!

Have you ever benefited from a ramp at the entrance to a building? They’ve been built nearly everywhere thanks to ADA requirements. But now we understand that ramps don’t only help people with disabilities. They help parents pushing strollers, people with temporary injuries, workers making deliveries, and teachers hauling their classroom supplies. This is universal design in action. Something that is created for a specific population helps everyone. Eye tracking has long been used by people with physical limitations to gain access to technology. Its usage is now being expanded to help all people. Check out this Fast Company article to learn more.

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Did you know that eye tracking can even be used to assess reading skills? When we read, our eyes have a pattern of movements that include fixations (when the eyes stop on the text) and saccades (when the eyes travel across the text). More efficient readers have smaller fixations and longer saccades, while less efficient readers have larger fixations and shorter saccades. Here are examples:

The circles represent fixations, and the lines represent saccades. The image on the left shows a stronger reader, while the image on the right shows a weaker reader.

Thanks to eye tracking technology, and the use of AI, we can now analyze eye movement patterns and understand reading ability in just a couple of minutes. This process can even be used to learn the risk of dyslexia by first grade. As the technology expands in use, the capabilities will grow to include a complete instructional prescription for each student. I’m proud to be working with Lexplore to advance the use of this promising new technology across the United States.