[Jason S. Babcock] and [Jeff B. Pelz] put together this paper on building a simple, lightweight eyetracker (PDF) to foster the creation of open source eyetracking software. All of the components are mounted to a cheap pair of safety glasses. The eyetracker uses a technique called “dark-pupil” illumination. An IR LED is used to illuminate the eye. The pupil appears as a dark spot because it doesn’t reflect the light. A bright spot also appears on the cornea where the IR is directly reflected. An eye camera is mounted next to the IR LED to record the image of eye with these two spots. Software tracks the difference between the two spots to determine the eye orientation. A laser mounted to the frame helps with the initial calibration process. A scene camera placed above the eye records what the eye is viewing. The video from these two cameras can be compared in real time or after the experiment is concluded.
[thanks austin y.]