What is eye tap

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EyeTap: The eye itself as display and camera -:

EyeTap is a device which allows, in a sense, the eye itself to function as both a display and a camera. EyeTap is at once the eye piece that displays computer information to the user and a device which allows the computer to process and possibly alter what the user sees. That which the user looks at is processed by the EyeTap. This allows the EyeTap to, under computer control, augment, diminish, or otherwise alter a user's visual perception of their environment, which creates a Computer Mediated Reality. Furthermore, ideally, EyeTap displays computer-generated information at the appropriate focal distance, and tonal range.

Mediated reality is to "augment, diminish, or otherwise alter your visual perception of reality." Mediated reality is a similar to virtual reality in that both alter the user's percepction of their environment, typically by replacing their vision with the output from a head-mounted display. However, virtual and mediated reality differ in that virtual reality seeks to create an entirely new environment for the user, whereas mediated reality alters what you would normally see - i.e. it alters your perception of your actual environment.

History of EyeTap

Since the 1970s EyeTaps have been invented, designed , built, and worn as for the creation of electronically mediated environments. The EyeTap’s design practise followed the evolution of the wearable computer systems as they were being used for computationally enhanced vision and personal experience capture.

Initially, during the early experimental days, EyeTap systems were used to visualize the mediated reality environments. During the 1970s, EyeTaps were crudely built

with the cathode ray tube (CRT) salvaged from a video camera, as seen on the helmet in Figure 8. This early EyeTap could present both text and images.

The late 1980s EyeTap design as shown in Figure 7. We used a 0.6-inch CRT

facing down.

Since the 1970s Steve Mann has been inventing, designing, building, and wearing computer systems for the creation of electronically mediated environments.Because of the constant view of the world from a photographic perspective, the EyeTap became a way of blurring the boundary between cyberspace and the real world, and appreciating the range of light and shade in everyday life.

Throughout the early 1980s, this led Mann toward a new kind of visual art based on seeing how everyday scenes and objects responded to light.

The evolution of his invention for seeing everyday spaces in a different light, is shown below:

In addition to enabling better eyesight, as well as facilitaing new genres of visual art, EyeTap devices can help solve the energy crisis

The eyetap electrical digital eyeglasses have evolved considerable from headsets of the 1970s, to eyetaps with optics outside the glasses in the 1980s , to eyetaps with optics inside the glasses in the 1990s ,to eyetaps with mediated zones built into the frames, lens edges in the year of 2000.

Principle & working of the Eyetap-:

  • The rays of light from the environment are collinear with the rays of light entering the eye.

  • EyeTap displays computer-generated information at the appropriate focal distance, and tonal range.

  • The rays of light that would otherwise enter the eye, and diverting those rays of light through computational processing, prior to re-synthesis of the light.


Rays of light which would have otherwise entered the eye are instead reflected by the diverter. The diverter is typically a double-sided mirror or a beamsplitter. These rays of light are collected by a sensor, typically a CCD camera. This camera data is processed, and the aremac redisplays the image as rays of light. The aremac (the word `camera' backwards), is a display device which is capable of displaying information at an appropriate depth. These rays reflect again off the diverter, and are then collinear with the rays of light from the scene. Thus the rays of light hitting the sceneward side of the diverter in a sense "pass through" the diverter by passing through the processor and aremac. The user perceives the virtual light. This virtual light can be either the same image, or a computer mediated version of the real world scene, since the virtual light is altered under computer control.

EyeTap diverter(Beam Splitter)-:

A beam splitter is an optical device that splits a beam of light in two. It is the crucial part of most interferometers.( Interferometry is the technique of superposing two or more waves, to detect differences between them.)

In its most common form, a cube, it is made from two triangular glass prisms which are glued together at their base using Canada balsam. The thickness of the resin layer is adjusted such that (for a certain wavelength) half of the light incident through one "port" (i.e. face of the cube) is reflected and the other half is transmitted. Polarizing beam splitters splitting light into beams of differing polarization.

Another design is the use of a half-silvered mirror. This is a plate of glass with a thin coating of aluminum with the thickness of the aluminum coating such that, of light incident at a 45 degree angle, one half is transmitted and one half is reflected.

A third version of the beam splitter is a dichroic mirrored prism assembly which uses dichroic optical coatings to split the incoming light into three beams, one each of red, green, and blue. Such a device was used in multi-tube colour television cameras


  • Health Care – Surgeons, Doctors, Research

      • Laser Camera-see inside patients and display additional data needed during surgeries.

      • Monitors and sensors-designed to track eating and sleeping patterns and physical activities. Track patient behaviors; well being of infants, elderly; collects and analyzes its wearers respiration flow, heart rate, and other key elements to see whether a treatment is working.

  • Sports

Sport EyeTap-the wearer while in a stadium would be able to follow a particular player in a field and have the EyeTap display statistics relevant to that player as a floating box above the player.

  • EyeTap vehicle

A vehicle is controlled by a sensor such as an EyeTap device or a headworn camera., so that the vehicle drives in whatever direction the driver looks. The vehicle may be a small radio controlled car or airplane or helicopter driven of flown by a person outside the car or plane, or the vehicle may be a car, plane, or helicopter, or the like, driven or flown by a person sitting inside it. A differential direction system allows a person's head position to be compared to the position of the vehicle, to bring the difference in orientations to a zero, and a near zero difference may be endowed with a deliberate drift toward a zero difference. Preferably at least one of the sensors (preferably a headworn sensor) is a video camera. Preferably the sensor difference drifts toward zero when the person is going along a straight path, so that the head position for going straight ahead will not drift away from being straight ahead. The invention can be used with a wide range of toy cars, model aircraft, or fullsize vehicles, airplanes, fighter jets, or the like.

  • Eyetap uses video for input and output, avoiding unnecessary hardware or User is completely free of devices.

  • Easy to control visual behavior like brightness or shadows

  • Virtual image can completely overpaint the real image

  • Incoming light (input) can be processed by a computer, before it reaches the eye(output)

  • Excellent for Computer Vision applications!

  • Useful because it does not require gloves or other external hardware, which interferes with the user’s interaction with the world

  • No resolution limitations for real world picture


  • Delay for virtual image may cause offset in motions

  • Only bright objects can overpaint the reality, because 30% of the real worlds image and 70% of the virtual image can be seen in the displays

  • Limited accuracy

  • Only one viewing direction

  • Real world image has the same (low) resolution as the display has


The EyeTap electric digital eyeglasses have evolved con- siderably from headsets of the 1970s, to EyeTaps with optics outside the glasses in the 1980s, to EyeTaps with the optics built inside the glasses in the 1990s to Eye- Taps with mediation zones built into the frames, lens edges, or the cut lines of bifocal lenses in the year 2000. As the need for continuous lifelong capture of experiences continues to become more widespread, with the

development of camera phone devices and others it becomes more relevant that designers create devices which integrate into the user’s life such that capture becomes effortless. We present EyeTap as one such device, and

as the prevalence of such cameras becomes more avail- able then the techno-sociological impact these devices bring also becomes more apparent.
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