Computer users often suffer from eye fatigue, dryness, soreness or even red eyes (dry eye syndrome). One of the reasons is our low blink rate due to an excessive brightness of the screen. Each blink spreads the tear film to moisturize our eyes. Eyeblink uses a webcam to detect your blinks and in a case of low blink rate eyeblink helps you blink more frequently, thus protecting your eyes.
Besides blink completeness, maintaining sufficient eye blink frequency helps to avoid dry eye syndrome . A healthy human blinks 10 to 15 times per minute. Eyeblink measures your blink rate every half-hour (webcam is on for about 3 minutes) and makes statistics available for you. The health status is just the average from the measurements in the graph. The whole blink rate history is possible to see after clicking on the graph. Mouse pointer shows blink measurement details. For now, blink completeness cannot be distinguished by ordinary webcam in real-world situations. So even if your blink rate is sufficient you can still feel eye discomfort. Please continue reading, our training can help you.
Each blink spreads the tear film on our eyes to moisturize them. Mostly complete blinks are important because only when the eyelids touch, the 3rd layer of the tear film, the lipid layer is renewed which protects the eye from the tear film evaporation. Conscious training of firm blinks can increase blink rate  and alter incomplete blinks . The problem is how to non-intrusively remind us to blink more and properly.
Eyeblink has two types of reminders. A simple reminder, which does not need a camera, appears at regular intervals for three seconds to reminder user to blink. An interactive reminder uses camera and it appears only in case of low blink rate and goes away with next blink. If you blink good enough, the reminder does not even show up. Eyeblink schedules reminders based on your measurements (if there are any) and preference. The reminder is a small pop-up window which rolls out in the right corner of your screen. Its placement can be changed in settings. Thanks to your peripheral vision, you can easily recognize the reminder and you know that you just need to blink to make it disappear. This way the disturbance is set to minimum.
Some people have sufficient blink rate, but still suffering from dry eye. People with Meibomian gland dysfunction need the reminder to appear even if they blink often. Conscious blinking is mostly complete, and that is the why blink training can alter the way we blink . With this option on, the reminder is shown regularly and not observing user first.
It can sometimes happen that the reminder does not disappear after your blink. In that case please test the blink detection performance. Eyeblink uses the state-of-the-art algorithms for face, eye, and eye blink detection. Detection can be hindered under severe light conditions. Thick eyeglass frame may also compromise performance. Some built-in webcams do not work well because they adjust exposure based on the light conditions so in low light the camera does not have sufficient capture speed to detect eye blinks. Or a strong light in camera view (window) causes the face to be too dark to detect blinks properly. In such cases please try to follow best practices for work environment in Treatment section.
The main reason for our low blink rate is excessive screen brightness. Especially during late work in the evenings, the screen emits too much light, which prevents us from blinking properly. Eyeblink uses a webcam to observe the room light to adjust the screen brightness automatically. Like with mobile phones, you can adjust the final brightness or set it manually. Compared to phones Eyeblink centers the slider by next measurement, because it learns your preference on the way. After a few days, Eyeblink has learned your preferences about screen brightness within different room light conditions. It is very convenient mostly while using desktop screens. Eyeblink saves your eyes, and at the same time your electric bill ;). Eyeblink brightness control is not compatible with screen adjustment apps like f.lux, therefore, it is disabled when f.lux is detected.
Excessive work at computer screen lowers our blink rate. To prevent tired eyes, regular breaks are important. Eye exercises are important too, we need to train our eye muscles, change the focus distance to have fresh eyes. Breaks are crucial also for our veins. Humans are not created for long-term sitting but walking. We need to stand up from our desktops and walk for a minute at regular intervals to prevent varicose veins. No sitting style is healthy if you spend more than 30 minutes in the same geometry (position). NESEDA Chair can help you to alternate between several natural positions as often as you desire. Eyeblink wants to interrupt you as effective as possible thus it observes your mouse cursor movements to detect your presence at a computer, based on these observations a plan of breaks is being adjusted. Your natural breaks are included in the plan. If you allow Eyeblink to use a webcam to detect your presence, the break planning will be even more precise and breaks as effective as possible.
It is all about trust. Any app you have installed has access to the camera and can take pictures (Windows works differently as Android where you explicitly allow access to the webcam.). If you are experienced user, you can check that Eyeblink communicates with the server only during startup and those kBytes are only measurements (if enabled) and license verification. You can easily check that there is no communication after startup.
The basic version is free of charge. It contains manual brightness control, a simple reminder and blink statistics. Premium functionalities are 14 days free of charge. After that 1-year license needs to be purchased to unlock the automatic brightness and interactive reminder.
Right mouse click on tray icon and choose Exit.
Eyeblink generates PC ID which is sent to identify the individual installation. If enabled, blink rate statistics and reminder settings are sent.
License is valid per installation. You need to buy a second license for another computer.
Thank you for your query. Only one software at a time can access the webcam. Eyeblink notifies you if the camera is not available, so you can even use eyeblink to check whether some virus/malware is spying on you (if you trust Eyeblink of course). Eyeblink uses OpenCV library to access the camera. It can happen rarely that the camera is not available because of a bug in OpenCV, so do not freak out if you see the message from time to time. If you see that error message it can also mean that the camera cable is damaged (happened to me) because sometimes the image is not delivered as it should.
In general, it can happen, when the face is not visible due to bad light conditions or the camera frame rate is lower than 10fps, no measurement will be added because Eyeblink cannot tell about blink rate in that cases. Try to see the test, if it is working and switch back, let it run during the whole day and see. Measurement should be added (if on) every 30 minutes approximately.
Click with right mouse button on system tray to see menu and select Exit.
Each webcam works differently. For example, Logitech webcams need more time to turn the LED on. It happens that you do not see turning it on during room light measurement or blink training because it takes only a few seconds. You see the LED on during measurements because it takes 3 minutes. The LED cannot be easily turned off, each manufacturer has its own API to access the camera. I am not aware of any solution which would disable LED for each webcam.
I did some tests and one of the best for Eyeblink is Microsoft LifeCam HD 3000. Images are delivered stable even in a low light, similar to Logitech webcams (B905, C905, C525, C270, C310). In addition to Logitech, it seems that LifeCam prefers nearby objects while adjusting exposure, which is better for Eyeblink. You will notice it mostly when you have a window in background.