This paper describes an inexpensive, robust method for tracking the head position and orientation of the user by using a single low-cost USB camera and infrared light emitting diodes concealed within spectacle frames worn by the user. Unlike gaze and head-pose tracking systems which rely on high-resolution stereo cameras and complex image processing hardware and software to find and track facial features on the user, the proposed system is able to efficiently locate and track the head's orientation and distance relative to the camera with little processing. Due to the infrared light emitting diodes having fixed geometry, the system does not have to contend with the varying facial features of different users and therefore does not require any calibration procedure or training to accommodate different users. Furthermore, the proposed system is unaffected by varying lighting conditions and can be used in the dark. Experimental results are provided demonstrating a head-pose tracking accuracy of within 0.5 degrees when the user is within one meter of the camera. This compares well with more expensive head tracking systems.
This book chapter was originally published as Meers, S, Ward, K and Piper, I, Simple, robust and accurate head-pose tracking using a single camera, in Billingsley, J and Bradbeer, R (eds), Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice, 2008, 111-122. Publisher: Springer