More selected projects

Megan Bates

Gaze is built from the eyeWriter project, an open source eye tracking program designed for interfacing with a computer using only eye movements.

Using openFrameworks 0.9, eyeWriter would not compile, so for the first two weeks of the project I was updating and stripping back the code to a barebones eye tracker. The functioning eye tracking program can be found here:

The artwork is built around creating a sense of something interesting being just-out-of-view, or in the peripheral vision. As objects disappear where the viewer looks, the piece can create a sense of unease and even sickness in whoever is looking at the screen. The Interaction of Color by Josef Albers and other, more recent, colour science have also influenced the intended experience of the piece.

Sensitivity to red–green color variations declines more steeply toward the periphery than sensitivity to luminance or blue–yellow colors, and viewers can have whatever is directly in their line of sight tinted to different colours dependant on peripheral colour. The shells are lit with red and green lights, to create further difficulty for the viewer to percieve what is on the screen, and to create an unusual uniquely digital environment. A gradiated circle fades from blue, where the viewer is looking, out to green. This maximises the difference between the experience of the viewer whose eye is being tracked and someone who would have the freedom to look where they wanted.

The shells are open source artefacts. Some were downloaded from research projects which have scanned real shells and corals. Some are entirely artificial, contructed in software with no reference to real objects.

Developments may include: using paint or non-RBG 'screens' to create deeper and more intense colours than on a typical screen. Developing a hardware colour flipping screen like Daniel Rozin's mirror series would be exciting to explore more colour interactions using peripheral vision. Right now, the biggest hurdle the work has in creating a unique experience for the viewer is the flawed eyetracking and delay from having to adjust the program's settings for the environment and user. I hope to develop and improve the eyetracker not only for the improvement of the artwork but also as an opensource tool originally designed for accessibility to technology.