Development of an evaluation framework for eye gaze assistive technology

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Perfect, Erin
Eye tracking , Augmentative and alternative communication , Disability
Children with complex care needs sometimes have difficulty communicating with their parents, caregivers and teachers. For these children eye gaze assistive technology can be used to facilitate communication. The objective of this research was to enhance the evaluation process of eye gaze assistive technology through development of an evaluation framework. A systematic review was completed that aimed to explore eye gaze assistive technology outcome measures for children and youth with complex disabilities. Outcome measures as well as environmental and personal factors were mapped to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework. The systematic review identified prohibitive costs, technical issues, and personal factors as barriers that impeded technology uptake. To begin to address the issues of prohibitive costs and technical issues, a reliability study and usability study were conducted using the low cost Tobii 4C eye tracker with typically developing children and adults. Results indicated that the low cost eye tracker was suitable for assistive technology applications and informed recommendations for device set up and calibration. The usability study also explored the personal factors of fatigue and frustration, by conducting a workload assessment using the NASA Task Load Index. Results indicated that fatigue is the largest workload contributor and that incidences of frustration may be over reported. The systematic review also identified professional support as the primary facilitator of technology success. It further recommended utilization of Goal Attainment Scaling and the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Therapy Outcome Measures when evaluating eye gaze assistive technology. A methodology was developed for clinicians that promotes the design of a user interface that is both functional and appropriate for the user by using the principles of cognitive work analysis. Findings were integrated into the proposed eye gaze assistive technology evaluation framework, specifically designed to support clinicians. This provides the individualized approach necessary for the heterogeneous population of eye gaze users. Additionally, by reporting outcomes in a standardized format that can be easily interpreted, this will encourage comparison between different users and studies.
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