Review and Evaluation of Eye Movement Event Detection Algorithms

Sensors (Basel). 2022 Nov 15;22(22):8810. doi: 10.3390/s22228810.


Eye tracking is a technology aimed at understanding the direction of the human gaze. Event detection is a process of detecting and classifying eye movements that are divided into several types. Nowadays, event detection is almost exclusively done by applying a detection algorithm to the raw recorded eye-tracking data. However, due to the lack of a standard procedure for how to perform evaluations, evaluating and comparing various detection algorithms in eye-tracking signals is very challenging. In this paper, we used data from a high-speed eye-tracker SMI HiSpeed 1250 system and compared event detection performance. The evaluation focused on fixations, saccades and post-saccadic oscillation classification. It used sample-by-sample comparisons to compare the algorithms and inter-agreement between algorithms and human coders. The impact of varying threshold values on threshold-based algorithms was examined and the optimum threshold values were determined. This evaluation differed from previous evaluations by using the same dataset to evaluate the event detection algorithms and human coders. We evaluated and compared the different algorithms from threshold-based, machine learning-based and deep learning event detection algorithms. The evaluation results show that all methods perform well for fixation and saccade detection; however, there are substantial differences in classification results. Generally, CNN (Convolutional Neural Network) and RF (Random Forest) algorithms outperform threshold-based methods.

Keywords: event detection algorithms; eye movement events; eye tracking; fixations; saccades.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Eye Movements*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Saccades

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Silesian University of Technology, Poland, Statutory Research funds of the Department of Applied Informatics Grant Number: 02/100/BK22/0017.