Corneal-Imaging Calibration for Optical See-Through Head-Mounted Displays

Alexander Plopski, Yuta Itoh, Christian Nitschke, Kiyoshi Kiyokawa, Gudrun Klinker, Haruo Takemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


In recent years optical see-through head-mounted displays (OST-HMDs) have moved from conceptual research to a market of mass-produced devices with new models and applications being released continuously. It remains challenging to deploy augmented reality (AR) applications that require consistent spatial visualization. Examples include maintenance, training and medical tasks, as the view of the attached scene camera is shifted from the user's view. A calibration step can compute the relationship between the HMD-screen and the user's eye to align the digital content. However, this alignment is only viable as long as the display does not move, an assumption that rarely holds for an extended period of time. As a consequence, continuous recalibration is necessary. Manual calibration methods are tedious and rarely support practical applications. Existing automated methods do not account for user-specific parameters and are error prone. We propose the combination of a pre-calibrated display with a per-frame estimation of the user's cornea position to estimate the individual eye center and continuously recalibrate the system. With this, we also obtain the gaze direction, which allows for instantaneous uncalibrated eye gaze tracking, without the need for additional hardware and complex illumination. Contrary to existing methods, we use simple image processing and do not rely on iris tracking, which is typically noisy and can be ambiguous. Evaluation with simulated and real data shows that our approach achieves a more accurate and stable eye pose estimation, which results in an improved and practical calibration with a largely improved distribution of projection error.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7012105
Pages (from-to)481-490
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 18 Apr 2015


  • OST-HMD calibration
  • eye pose estimation
  • optical see-through


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