(eye)blink detection without mindwave ?

hello , Ive been thinking for a while it would be cool to do a project that could respond is some way to the blinking of a human eye. I've googled it a bit and found the mind wave headset but it is expensive and seems like it would be difficult to use. someone else on this forum once suggested simply using an IR source and an IR receiver as the open eye reflect more IR then the closed. would this really be feasible ( the project I have in mind has the user putting their face into a static mask which could be made out of very IR absorbing material). Ive also heard there are some web camera libraries that have facial recognition features. does anyone have any thoughts / experience ? could it really be as simple as the IR method.

cheers sam

Not too sure, but continuously shining IR light directly on a eye is most likely unwise & unsafe, even though the Sun is doing it all the time.

There are published limits on levels of IR etc, but would need a search.

Pesonally, I would'nt even test it on my own eyes, even though it is nowhere near lasers.

A camera based solution seems to be the common approach.

You could also look at IR based temperature sensors as they receive but dont transmit, and there are camera type sensors with only a few pixels, which could be of use depending on the environment and could be driven from Arduino type systems.

I haven't tried it but you can get cheap IR thermomoters on ebay & they might show a different temperature reading when the eylid is open/closed and all you would have to do is to hack into some of the signals on the circuit or LCD display just to detect a sudden change in temperature.

cheers I think I will look into camera based approaches !

thanks for the warning on IR on the eye.

No problem..

I am not aware of any issue with typical use of IR LEDs as in TV remote controls - but I would be slow to point anything at close range direactly at the eye, particularly IR and definitely not Laser or UV at any distance.

I did a quick search and found this study which covers IR and the eye in broader applications. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/euro/es/EURO_SERIES_25_(chp3).pdf (I have to confess I did'nt read it all, just glanced quickly at some of the conclusions).

I also saw a reference elsewhere to someone who melted their contact lens, but may have been using strong UV light(?).

Anyway - a camera type solution would be way cooler :)