Etmerald - Eye Tracking Made Easy

Martin SchmettowMartin Schmettow

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Peter Slijkhuis

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Borsci Simone

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Carolina Herrando Soria

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and 

Robert Marinescu MusterRobert Marinescu Muster

June 6, 2023

Eye Tracking is a powerful method for understanding human attention, visual processing, problem solving and preferences. It is useful in a variety of applied research domains, such as Human Factors, Communication Science, Marketing and Education. Eye tracking is expected to gain even more significance with the emerge of VR/AR systems in research and training.

BMS Lab is developing the GazeFlow system, which turns a regular webcam into a low-resolution eye tracking device. This budget-friendly system allows us to equip all our students with a working eye tracking system and has been piloted for teaching in two bachelor modules. Based on this and earlier experience, we will create a multi-disciplinary educational framework for eye tracking in BMS education, Etmerald (Eye Tracking Made Easy)

goals of the project

  • Developing a sequence of eye tracking learning units, spanning from first year bachelor to master level (CODE).
  • Further develop GazeFlow, a budget-friendly eye tracking platform based on webcams (BMSLab).
  • Create a Data Science workflow and an easy-to-use R package for eye tracking data (BDSI).
  • Facilitate broad adoption of eye tracking within BMS education (PCRS, ETM, CS).

We will produce the necessary tools and create case studies, documentation, teacher guidelines, learning material for eye tracking on first year, second year and master level. The approach will be implemented and evaluated in three existing courses: B-Psy Module 3 (Cognition and Development), module Human factors & Engineering Psychology and M-Psy ARM (Advance Research Methods HFEP).

The goal long-term is to create eye tracking spin-offs in at least three other BMS programs/themes. To keep an eye on the big picture, we include stakeholders from two other programs (CS and ETM) and one other psychology theme (PCRS). We will seek to get in contact with more potential adopters during the project.

benefit to education and/or students

Familiarity with technology is giving our social science graduates a unique edge on the labour market. With our project we want to secure this advantage for the future. Eye tracking is a standard technique in diverse fields of applied and industrial research and experts are highly regarded.

Before it was called Data Science, social scientists were often hired as experts in data analysis (because they know how to operate SPSS). With the new paradigm, the job market is exploding, but the niche for social scientist is even so quickly eroding. Thank to our modernized Statistics curriculum, this niche is secured at least for our students. By interfacing eye tracking with R, we give our students more opportunities to develop professional Data Science skills in a fun way.

The Etmerald framework can be used to facilitate learning in the classroom by creating first-hand experience on theoretical topics, such as visual attention, face recognition and bottom-up processing, as well as applied topics, such as interface design, data visualization or marketing of products.

The GazeFlow system can be used in online education and is therefore robust to lockdowns.