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From self-monitoring cars to marketing research, eye tracking technology is becoming a bigger part of the technology conversation. However, this amazing innovation has quite a few applications you may not even know about. Here are four eye tracking technology applications we’re especially thankful for:

Medical Research

Eye tracking is lending a hand to conventional research methods or other biosensors to study medical conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Earlier Detection of Autism

Using eye tracking technology, autism diagnoses can be affirmed earlier in the disease’s progression. Research shows that infants who go on to develop autism not only look at faces less than other babies do, but they also look away from major facial features when a person speaks. Yale University School of Medicine researchers presented these ground-breaking findings that can help diagnose autism in children as young as 6 months of age. The researchers used eye tracking to carry out their studies and are hopeful that early detection can lead to social and behavioral interventions to help these young patients recover.

Marketing Intelligence

Companies are confidently investing their marketing dollars, thanks to eye tracking technology. Rather than wasting time with ads customers aren’t interested in, businesses can use eye tracking research to study where consumers look at an ad online. Vision heat mapping can detect what bores and interests consumers, so marketers can move on quickly to newer, better ads.

Assistive Technologies

Eye tracking devices help individuals with no control, or only limited control, over their hand movements. Eye trackers follow the movement of the eyes to allow a person to navigate the web and to type on custom screens. People living with a number of disabilities and degenerative diseases are benefiting from eye tracking technology, including patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and more. Eye tracking devices allow users to harness the power of their eyes to communicate with the world.