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Real-Time Eyeblink Detector and Eye State Classifier for Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets (Head-Mounted Displays, HMDs)
The aim of the study is to develop a real-time eyeblink detection algorithm that can detect eyeblinks during the closing phase for a virtual reality headset (VR headset) and accordingly classify the eye’s current state (open or closed). The proposed method utilises analysis of a motion vector for detecting eyelid closure, and a Haar cascade classifier (HCC) for localising the eye in the captured frame. When the downward motion vector (DMV) is detected, a cross-correlation between the current region of interest (eye in the current frame) and a template image for an open eye is used for verifying eyelid closure. A finite state machine is used for decision making regarding eyeblink occurrence and tracking the eye state in a real-time video stream. The main contributions of this study are, first, the ability of the proposed algorithm to detect eyeblinks during the closing or the pause phases before the occurrence of the reopening phase of the eyeblink. Second, realising the proposed approach by implementing a valid real-time eyeblink detection sensor for a VR headset based on a real case scenario. The sensor is used in the ongoing study that we are conducting. The performance of the proposed method was 83.9% for accuracy, 91.8% for precision and 90.40% for the recall. The processing time for each frame took approximately 11 milliseconds. Additionally, we present a new dataset for non-frontal eye monitoring configuration for eyeblink tracking inside a VR headset. The data annotations are also included, such that the dataset can be used for method validation and performance evaluation in future studies.