Blinders: A novel distraction mitigation app

Overview

Blinders is an application I created in response to the constant distractions I found on my computer while trying to focus on a single task. The prevalence of email, instant messaging, and other applications has turned our computers into a set of tools which are simultaneously vying for our attention.

Confronted with this problem, I developed an application which dynamically blurs out all windows on your computer except for the one you are currently focused on. By using low-cost eye-tracking techniques and heuristics, I designed a technique which dynamically captures the intent of the user’s focus.

This application seamlessly integrates into a user’s existing operating system and only requires a webcam, technology which is already commonly available. Distraction mitigation has recently become an area of interest to human-computer interaction researchers. In contrast to previous efforts, which have focused on a single application or require a conscious effort by the user, Blinders works with all applications and requires no active involvement from the user.

Blinders’ minimalist interface