Eye Gaze Tracking: Applications, Techniques, and Key Metrics

What Is Eye Gaze Tracking?

Eye gaze tracking is the process of measuring and analyzing the movements of a person’s eyes to determine where they are looking. It involves the use of sensors and algorithms to track the movement of the eyes and determine where the person is looking in relation to their environment.

Eye gaze tracking can be used in a variety of applications, including research on human behavior and cognition, usability testing of user interfaces, and assistive technology for individuals with disabilities. It is also used in marketing research to understand how people look at advertisements and other visual stimuli.

There are several technologies that can be used for eye gaze tracking, including infrared eye tracking, which uses infrared light to detect eye movements, and video-based eye tracking, which uses a camera to track eye movements. These technologies can be used in combination with other sensors and algorithms to provide a more complete understanding of a person’s gaze and attention.

This is part of a series of articles about face recognition.

Eye Gaze Tracking Applications and Use Cases

Attention Tracking in Retail

Eye gaze tracking can be used to understand how people look at advertisements and other visual stimuli in a retail setting. Retailers can use eye gaze tracking to analyze how customers interact with in-store displays, online advertisements, and other marketing materials. This can help retailers understand what types of visual stimuli are most effective at capturing customers’ attention and guide decisions about how to design and place advertisements and products.

Driver Monitoring

Eye gaze tracking can be used in the automotive industry to monitor the attention and gaze of drivers. This can improve safety by alerting drivers when their attention is not on the road, or by helping drivers when needed. For example, a driver monitoring system could use eye gaze tracking to detect when a driver is looking away from the road and issue a warning or take other corrective action. 

Neuroscience and Psychology

Eye gaze tracking is used in neuroscience and psychology research to understand how the brain processes visual information and how people attend to different stimuli in their environment. It can provide valuable insights into how the brain works and can be used to study a wide range of phenomena, including attention, memory, and decision-making. 

For example, researchers can use eye gaze tracking to understand how people’s gaze patterns change when they are shown different stimuli, such as images or words. This can help researchers understand how the brain processes visual information and how it influences attention and decision-making.


Eye gaze tracking technology can be used in gaming to provide more immersive and interactive experiences for players. Some examples of use cases include:

  • Game control: Eye gaze tracking can be used as an alternative method of controlling a game. Instead of using a traditional controller, players can use their eyes to interact with the game, for example, by looking at different buttons on the screen to select them or by using their gaze to aim and shoot in a first-person shooter game.
  • Game analytics: Eye gaze tracking can be used to track a player’s gaze during gameplay, this information can be used to analyze the player’s behavior, such as how long they spend looking at different parts of the screen, how often they look away from the game, and how their gaze patterns change over time. This data can be used to optimize the game experience and make it more engaging.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Eye gaze tracking can be used to provide more realistic and immersive experiences in VR and AR games by enabling the game to track where the player is looking and adjust the game environment accordingly.

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Types of Eye Trackers

Eye trackers use different technologies to measure and analyze eye movements. Here is a brief overview of three common types of eye trackers:

Remote Eye Trackers 

Remote eye trackers are typically mounted on a fixed position, such as a desk or a stand, and are used to track the movement of the eyes in relation to the environment. They typically use a combination of sensors and cameras to measure eye movements and are typically more accurate than head-mounted eye trackers. However, they may be less portable and more difficult to use in certain situations, such as when the user is moving around.

Head-Mounted Eye Trackers 

Head-mounted eye trackers are worn in front of the eyes  and are typically used to track the movement of the eyes in relation to the head. Head-mounted eye trackers are typically more portable and easier to use than remote eye trackers, but they may be less accurate due to the movement of the head and the proximity of the sensors to the eyes.

Electrooculography (EOG) Eye Trackers 

EOG eye trackers use electrodes to measure the electric potentials produced by the eye muscles. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, but they may not be as accurate as other types of eye tracking. EOG eye trackers are typically used in applications where high accuracy is not a critical requirement.

Key Eye Gaze Tracking Metrics and Terms

Fixations and Gaze Points

A fixation is a period of time during which a person’s gaze is focused on a specific point in their environment. A gaze point is a specific location in the environment where a person is looking. Eye gaze tracking systems typically measure and analyze fixations and gaze points to understand where a person is looking and for how long.


A heatmap is a visual representation of eye gaze data that shows where people are looking in an image or video. It is typically displayed as a map with different colors, with the most-viewed areas shown in the hottest colors and the least-viewed areas shown in the coolest colors. Heatmaps can be used to understand where people are looking in relation to different elements in an image or video and to identify areas of interest or attention.

Example of a heatmap of a flyer (Source)

Areas of Interest (AOI)

An area of interest (AOI) is a specific region in an image or video that is of particular interest to the viewer. AOIs can be defined manually or automatically by the eye gaze tracking system, and they are typically used to analyze how much time a viewer spends looking at different areas of an image or video.

Example of areas of interest (AOI) (Source)

Fixation Sequences

A fixation sequence is a series of fixations made by a viewer as they move their gaze around an image or video. Fixation sequences can be used to understand how a viewer is scanning and interpreting an image or video and to identify patterns in their gaze behavior.

Example of a fixation sequence (Source)

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Eye Tracking System

There are several factors to consider when choosing an eye tracker, including the following:

  • Accuracy: The accuracy of an eye tracker is an important consideration, as it determines how well the eye tracker is able to measure and analyze eye movements. Higher accuracy is generally more desirable, but it may also come at a higher cost.
  • Portability: If you plan to use the eye tracker in a variety of locations or settings, you may want to consider a portable eye tracker that is easy to transport and set up.
  • Compatibility: Make sure that the eye tracker is compatible with the devices and software you plan to use it with. Some eye trackers may require specific hardware or software in order to function properly.
  • Price: Eye trackers can vary widely in price, so it is important to consider your budget when choosing an eye tracker. Keep in mind that higher-priced eye trackers may offer more features or higher accuracy, but they may not always be the best value for your needs.
  • User experience: Consider the user experience when choosing an eye tracker, particularly if you plan to use it with a large number of people. Some eye trackers may be more comfortable or easier to use than others, which can affect the quality of the data you collect.