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   Undertoad  Tuesday Aug 21 02:31 PM

8/21: Eye tracking study

This woman is at Ford, in a driving simulator, wearing a laser headset to accurately track eye movement during a simulated drive. Ford is all excited about this new simulator called Virtual Test Track Experiment, or VIRTTEX being unveiled today to allow researchers to study driver distraction. They say the idea is to learn what effect various tasks have on a driver's attention to the road, like using a cell phone, changing a radio station, etc.

But how could anything be more distracting than wearing a big metal headset with a window over one eye and a laser to track your eyeball? I say the whole thing is bogus, and I intend to continue to drive while talking on the phone, changing CDs, etc. And I'll pull it off, too.

ndetroit  Tuesday Aug 21 03:25 PM

I was in San Francisco recently, and saw the IBM Alphaworks Techmobile. It's basically a tripped-out Ford Explorer with little laser-driven sensors that lock on to the back of your retinas. (they look for the 'red eye' that you get from a regular camera with a flash).

The thing has a server in the back of it, and looks for stuff like the driver falling asleep, and whatnot. If it detects that you are starting to fall asleep at the wheel, it will turn up the AC, turn on loud music, spray water in your face, or start talking to you..

Likewise, if you don't talk back, or laugh at one of it's jokes, you get the similar water-spraying treatment.. (In a related note, its hooked up to the internet, and if a lot of people don't laugh at the joke, then it will delete that joke from the database, for being 'not funny'..)

Sounds kind of brutal, but I read a stat recently that said that something like 40% of traffic accidents are probably caused by fatigue at the wheel... So, every little thing helps, I guess.

kisrael  Wednesday Aug 22 09:57 AM

rats, hoping it was about reading

A while back I saw some really cool pictures tracing what people looked at as they read... really interesting, surprisingly non-linear.

russotto  Wednesday Aug 22 03:07 PM

Re: 8/21: Eye tracking study

Originally posted by Undertoad

This woman is at Ford, in a driving simulator, wearing a laser headset to accurately track eye movement during a simulated drive.
Are you sure? Looks more like she's well on her way to assimilation by the Borg. Laser and all.

TheDollyLlama  Friday Aug 24 05:56 PM

Re: Re: 8/21: Eye tracking study

Originally posted by russotto

Are you sure? Looks more like she's well on her way to assimilation by the Borg. Laser and all.

She can assimilate me anytime!

lisa  Friday Aug 24 07:18 PM

Re: rats, hoping it was about reading

Originally posted by kisrael
A while back I saw some really cool pictures tracing what people looked at as they read... really interesting, surprisingly non-linear.
Well, here's a pretty interesting graphic of where people's eyes looked at a picture when they were asked different things about the picture:

Each record lasted 3 minutes. 1) Free examination. Before subsequent recordings, the subject was asked to: 2) estimate the material circumstances of the family; 3) give the ages of the people; 4) surmise what the family had been doing before the arrival of the "unexpected visitor;" 5) remember the clothes worn by the people; 6) remember the position of the people and objects in the room; 7) estimate how long the "unexpected visitor" had been away from the family

This comes from the page at:

kisrael  Friday Aug 24 08:27 PM

Too bad they didn't overlay the eyetrack and the picture, it would be more informative. Still pretty cool.

I've heard researchers have come up with some really really cool stunts based on eye-tracking... there's this one where they swap letters around the page, anywhere the reader isn't looking at that moment in time. The effect is utterly invisible to the reader whose eyes they're monitor and screamingly obvious and apparent to anyone else.

Also, the feedback that the brain gets back about where the eye is at this moment is super crucial to your establishing your 'mental image' of everything around you... when that feedback path is damaged, the world goes sickeningly swimmingly around you as your eyes skew, thus changing your viewpoint without your brain being aware of it.

Sometimes I try to think about how important my sense of sight is to my model of the world; it's almost impossible to conceive of what I'd be without being able to see.

Someone else pointed out, do you think we're more likely to think of our head as our seat of self because our brain is there, because it's just behind our eyes and between our ears? (I'm not sure if other cultures (and sometimes are own) putting the heart or "live"r as the seat of emotions contradicts that, though)

Interesting stuff!

jaguar  Friday Aug 24 10:25 PM

You cna kinda overlay them on your own, strong corrlation around the eyes, al very interesting =)

Slight  Saturday Aug 25 10:43 AM

One stupid thing I have figured out about the eye is that at the center of your eye is a whole bunch of receptors. Now when you look around this higher concentration of sensors are pointed at whatever you are looking at. The effect of this in a normal person like me, is that what ever you are looking at is in high definition and high focus. When you are looking around, you are really just training this sensory sweet spot on what you want to see. This is because the rest of your eye can't see that well. What I end up trying to do is look at the spots where am not looking at and see how bad my vision there is but to no avail because I have already moved my eye.

This is all dumb I know, but I feel it is a contradiction to how we feel about how we see. It seems like we can see everything in our eye's view, but it is only what we are pointing our eye at that gets any good resolution.

This is what makes those graphs lisa posted so cool. They had something like that in our photography class. I think the idea was that good pictures have this triangle that your eye moves along (like number 1.) That is why certain pictures hold your gaze longer. Anyway for me photography is all about framing your shot right, and as image of the day has, shooting interesting content.

kisrael  Saturday Aug 25 10:55 AM

Yeah, your periphreal vision is surpisingly bad (except at detecting sudden movement, at which it does very well) but it's hard to realize this because of the way our eyes are constantly and effortlessly darting. You have to rig up weird experiments along the lines of "ok, keep your eyes fixed forward, now tell me what's the suit of this card I'm holding off to the side."

Our mental picture of the world is 'faked' to a higher degree than we know. I think this may explain some of the oddities of dreams; since we're trained to make reality out of messy data, those systems get used as we dream to make some kind of sense of the bogus data our eyes are sending us. (I'm not really certain about how backed up the assertions are) Like, one of the reasons people fly a lot in dreams is that our eyes sweep down, and the data sent resembles what it would look like if we were hurled upwards. Like I said, take that idea with a grain of salt, but it is kind of interesting.

Undertoad  Saturday Aug 25 10:57 AM

It makes me think that psychology could go a lot further if it wanted to be evil. It could determine what we're really thinking, a lot more than those silly "lie detectors".

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