Being the only company that offers a patented technology is a nice position to be in. Especially when those services can be rendered to a diverse swath of businesses.
Just ask Dr. Sandra Marshall, founder and chief executive officer of EyeTracking Inc. a San Diego-based privately held company that can record and interpret the cognitive state of a person by examining his or her eye.
“Lots of people monitor eye movement; ... we can detect cognitive state by looking at brain activity through the pupil,” Marshall said. “We’re absolutely unique.”
There are two distinct applications of the technology, Marshall said. First is the commercial side, which many companies have used to analyze Web site usability, software efficiency and the impact of advertising, among other things. Secondly, the technology has significant use within the governmental realm, especially within the Department of Defense for the monitoring of human performance in the development of computer interfaces.
Judging from EyeTracking’s client roster, the data garnered from this procedure can be extremely valuable. So far, the company has provided its services to companies ranging from AOL, Yahoo!, Boeing and H. J. Heinz Co.
Marshall founded the company in 1999, along with colleagues from the Cognitive Ergonomics Research facility at San Diego State University. In 2002, EyeTracking was picked to participate in the Augmented Cognition Program for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said Marshall. Now the company has six employees and is seeking funding for a new software product that can predict the cognitive state of a person by taking measurements of the eye.
“Right now we see the military, security and automotive markets as the main areas we’re working in,” Marshall noted. "There’s also a lot of interest in the medical device market. We plan on working in those areas in the future.”
EyeTracking Inc.'s specialized research centers around the collection, analysis and interpretation of eye-movement and mental effort as a user interacts with a product or interface. Combined with performance data and subjective user responses, the company investigates all aspects of usability, visibility and optimization.
Sandra Marshall: Founder and Chief Executive Officer