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SENCOGI® : a revolutionary gaze-tracking technology for real world applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SENCOGI (SENCOGI® : a revolutionary gaze-tracking technology for real world applications.)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
COGISEN created SENCOGI® with its new generation of algorithms derived from visual neuroscience. COGISEN recognised the huge business opportunity of introducing to the market gaze interaction, a new way of interacting between one or more persons and a device in a way that could be faster, more innate and natural compared to the current methods.

Why is it important for society?
Gaze-tracking is the process of measuring where a person is looking. SENCOGI® performs gaze-tracking using only the regular camera input. Gaze is the fastest means of interaction used by humans,nonetheless across all markets of the human-machine interaction (HMI) sector. The reason for this is that no gaze-tracking technology present in the market today achieves the required levels of performance. SENCOGI® will overcome these technical limitations and will be the disruptive Key Enabling Technology (KET) for human gaze in the huge market of HMI, which is not limited to computers in general,but extends to any device that can be fitted with a video camera and processor. Gaze-tracking through SENCOGI® is a KET that can have the same impact as the introduction of touch-screens, mouse technologies and remote controllers.

What are the overall objectives?
COGISEN’s objectives are twofold: (1) optimize and finalize SENCOGI® and the tool-chain behind it and (2) produce SENCOGI® prototypes and applications, aimed at establishing licensing agreements with top-level players in specific vertical markets. COGISEN will enter the gaze-tracking market with a B2B approach, by promoting SENCOGI®-based gaze-tracking technology to top-level companies operating in specific markets. We have selected 3 initial vertical markets:
● Mobile (e.g. smartphone, tablet, etc.); innovative and more effective HMI by means of gazetracking; leverage combination of gaze-tracking with other HMI means already available on mobiles (e.g. speech recognition, touch);
● Automotive; gaze-based driver monitoring and safety applications and improved HMI for infotainment;
● Internet of things; full, immediate and natural interactions with devices and appliances at home or for business;
By the end of the SM E-2 project we will have started three pilot projects with three customers; the pilot projects will be funded by the customers and aim to conclude with the signing of a license agreement following the successful outcome of the pilot project.
In general, during the 24 months of the project Cogisen developed its algorithms into an industry leading commercial product, for which a tier-1 technology company has agreed to a licensing agreement. Even though they have not declared for which application they are going to implement Cogisen algorithm, the gaze tracking implementation is highly likely to be a main focus of this industrial partner to start testing and developing prototypes with the Sencogi platform. In terms of commercial achievements, this also means that Cogisen has already reached the target of the SME project at least for two of the three verticals (i.e. mobile, IoT, automotive).
During the second part of the 2017, Cogisen was invited by other preferred customers (i.e. Amazon Lab 126) to create a gaze prototype (Amazon Lab 126 started a test on the Sencogi code). In order to show a first potential IoT application, Cogisen’s prototype is a simulation that allows customers to experience how it would be to shop with gaze-enabled UA’s (User Agents), to provide Amazon’s goal of “Better interaction with the products in the shelves”. The evaluation on the IoT prototype it is still in progress.
During the second part of the 2017, Cogisen made significant commercial progress even for the automotive vertical. The commercial engagement with FotoNation/Xperi, had an acceleration during the month of November 2017 when they asked us to develop an automotive dedicated prototype. The Automotive demo requested, reflects a direct “pull” from the Automotive market for a preferred gaze implementation. The specifications for the demo arrived via Fotonation’s existing technology partners, which was channelled back to Cogisen, leading to the creation of a demo application of gaze tracking in an Automotive environment.
Cogisen and Fotonation started to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an Automotive product which combines Fotonation’s embedded automotive hardware with Cogisen’s gaze algorithms. Considering that this negotiation phase started in November 2017, Cogisen presented an amendment request for an extension (until July 2018) in order to have more time to manage both the commercial and technical development to achieve a potential pilot project. The feedback related to the amendment request was negative and the target for a potential pilot project for the automotive vertical has not been achieved.
SENCOGI® technology it will disrupt our three target markets and change the way people interact with their devices. This will be a tipping point comparable to the effect that touchscreen technology has had on users, where people will no longer accept not having the technology integrated in their mobile phones, cars or even their houses. European citizens, in addition to consumers in other markets, will certainly be willing to pay for a smartphone that combines gaze technology with voice and touch, enabling faster and more natural user interfaces for devices. Seven EU countries boast a total of 196.6M smartphone users and this figure is set to exceed 300M users in 2018. Safety and protecting lives is of utmost importance to all road users, there are clear advantages for everyone from applications which, for example, will prevent drivers from using their mobile phones for texting and reading while driving. The market for semiautonomous and autonomous cars will reach US$2.4 trillion by 2020. In this case, gaze technology will be needed to determine when control of the car can be returned safely to the driver. Similarly, people will be very keen on having, and paying for, home appliances and devices that can be commanded from a distance by the user’s gaze. The IoT market will add US$ 1.7 trillion in value to the global economy in 2019.
COGISEN’s software is a B2B technical solution. The benefits are mainly related to the technical features of the underlying platform that make our solution very attractive to our potential customers. These technological factors, when compared with the existing technologies, are our strongest selling points. They can be summarized as follows: 1. SENCOGI® general selling point: a software-only solution with no extra hardware needed, using the existing commercial camera already installed on a device. This requires only a minimal power draw and provides high speed processing; 2. Mobile-related selling point: it works in full mobility conditions with different types of light, recognizing all types of eyes and faces; 3. Automotive-related selling point: no need for an array of cameras and/or stereo vision infra-red system, instead it works with only one camera installed even off-centre; 4. IoT-related selling point: recognition and gaze-tracking at a distance of over 5 metres from the camera device; The potential customers with whom COGISEN will establish partnerships will bring our gaze-tracking solution to the market; end users will benefit from an amazing added value feature at an almost imperceptible difference in price.
IoT Sencogi Demo
Extracts from the Sencogi Communication Campaign Video
Automotive Sencogi Demo
Functionality examples of the Sencogi software for Mobile