Journal of Neuroscience Methods vol:159 issue:1 pages:158-69
Given the high relevance of visual input to human behavior, it is often important to precisely monitor the spatial orientation of the visual axis. One popular and accurate technique for measuring gaze orientation is based on the dual search coil. This technique does not allow for very large displacements of the subject, however, and is not robust with respect to translations of the head. More recently, less invasive procedures have been developed that record eye movements with camera-based systems attached to a helmet worn by the subject. Computational algorithms have also been developed that can calibrate eye orientation when the head's position is fixed. Given that camera-based systems measure the eye's position in its orbit, however, the reconstruction of gaze orientation is not as straightforward when the head is allowed to move. In this paper, we propose a new algorithm and calibration method to compute gaze orientation under unrestrained head conditions. Our method requires only the accurate measurement of orbital eye position (for instance, with a camera-based system), and the position of three points on the head. The calculations are expressed in terms of linear algebra, so can easily be interpreted and related to the geometry of the human body. Our calibration method has been tested experimentally and validated against independent data, proving that is it robust even under large translations, rotations, and torsions of the head.