A group of scientists at University College London (UCL) received a £38,000 grant to purchase eye tracking equipment to use in their research of a rare form of Alzheimer’s. The grant was awarded by Alzheimer’s Research UK to help Dr. Sebastian Crutch and his team of researchers at the UCL Institute of Neurology in their study of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). The money will be used to purchase the Eye-Link II, a high resolution eye tracker created by SR research.
The reason for using eye tracking to study PCA is because this form of Alzheimer’s begins with loss of visual function rather than the memory loss that is typically associated with the disease. The loss of visual function causes the person to lose spatial awareness, and it becomes difficult to recognize faces or objects, even if the object is directly in front of them. This disease is different from vision loss due to deterioration of the eyes because it actually results from declining function of the region of the brain that processes and interprets visual inputs.
The research team at UCL will use the Eye-Link II to not only get more insight into the visual problems associated with this kind of dementia, but also to help in the design of visual aids to assist patients with PCA. The Eye-Link II is a wearable eye tracking system with high speed cameras which capture detailed eye movement data. It will be used to help researchers understand the cause and symptoms of this debilitating disease.
This is just another great example of the role of eye tracking technology in helping scientists make groundbreaking discoveries in research. It will be interesting to see what the researchers at UCL are able to uncover now that they are equipped with innovative technology tools.
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