Sidney D'Mello and Robert Bixler from the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame in the US have developed an interface that's intelligent enough to identify when its users are zoning out and take measures to increase their concentration.
"Their software tracks a person's eye movements with a commercial eye tracker. The system figures out if the person's mind is on the task by observing specific features in the way the eyes move, such as how long they fixate on words, where the eyes move next, their overall movement patterns and other contextual cues.”
If the software picks up on what looks like waning concentration, it will pause the session, send a notification to the user and highlight the missed content for them to read over again. "This can lead to improved learning,” D’Mello told Sandhana. "For high stakes tasks such as military or aviation, this can prevent catastrophic disasters.”
The software also has applications in improving study materials for high school and university courses because it can figure out how engaged the students are as they’re using study materials at home, and can identify which content causes a lapse in concentration.
According to New Scientist, the first version of the 'mind wandering detector' is expected to be ready in months.