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Utilizing an eye-tracking system for bed positioning based on eye movements is a viable and dependable option for individuals experiencing advanced stages of multiple sclerosis. 

Individuals with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) who exhibit limited motor abilities must have frequent position changes to prevent further complications. A newly published study describes the development and utility of an eye-tracking system that aids in gaining control over bed positioning through eye movements. The results indicate that the proposed system is preferable and reliable among MS patients with advanced disease. The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation.

Patient and Study Characteristics

This experiment included 43 participants, and a total of 126 tests were performed. One patient was not subjected to follow-up testing since gaze detection was absent, yielding a total of 16 patients and 26 controls. The minimum individual task time and the longest individual time were 23.9 seconds and 187.4 seconds, respectively.

Eye-Tracking System Performance and Efficiency in MS Patients and Controls

The establishment of interaction with the eye-tracking system, the opening of function selection, and the confirmation of safety procedures did not have any apparent gaps across the MS patients and controls. The controls and the patients mastered tasks in 40.2 s and 56.5 s, respectively. The task-solving efficiency was lower in the patient group compared to the control group (72.1% vs 86.3%). 

The first positioning and initialization of the bed position control system using eye-tracking (BCET) was managed by the controls in 11.5 s and the patients in 13.9 s. After age matching in the subgroups, the task time in the controls and the time from making contact with the eye-tracking system to the first positioning were shorter, and the efficiency was higher compared to the patients. The information data rate (ITR) was significantly higher among the controls compared to the MS patients, which was also directly associated with task time.

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Efficiency and Task-Solving Time Improved in MS Patients

The learning effect was observed in the MS patients, which was significant for efficiency and task-solving time. This significant trend in the learning effect was not evident in the controls. Repetition did not influence the time from task opening to first bed positioning in MS patients or controls.

Disability Scores, Test Time, and Efficiency in MS Patients and Controls.

The study also found higher Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores in MS patients, which was associated with slow growth in efficiency. The test time was positively correlated with time to first positioning and time to efficiency. In the controls, increasing volunteer age was significantly associated with reduced efficiency and longer task times.

This study concluded that an eye-tracking system could facilitate MS patients in gaining control over bed positioning by utilizing their eye movements. This system is reliable and is preferred by MS patients suffering from advanced disease.

Source

Kopecek, M., & Kremlacek, J. (2023). Eye-tracking control of an adjustable electric bed: construction and validation by immobile patients with multiple sclerosis. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-023-01193-w