Saturday, February 23, 2008

Talk: Sensing user attention (R. Vertegaal)

Stumbled upon a talk by Roel Vertegaal at Google Techtalk describing various projects at the Queens University Human Media Lab, many of which are using eye tracking technology. In general, applies knowledge from cognitive science on attention and communication onto practical Human-Computer Interaction interfaces applications. Overall nice 40 minute talk. Enjoy.

Over the past few years, our work has centered around the development of computing technologies that are sensitive to what is perhaps the most important contextual cue for interacting with humans that exists: the fabric of their attention. Our research group has studied how humans communicate attention to navigate complex scenarios, such as group decision making. In the process, we developed many different prototypes of user interfaces that sense the users' attention, so as to be respectful players that share this most important resource with others. One of the most immediate methods for sensing human attention is to detect what object the eyes look at. The eye contact sensors our company has developed for this purpose work at long range, with great head movement tolerance, and many eyes. They do not require any personal calibration or coordinate system to function. Today I will announce Xuuk's first product, EyeBox2, a viewing statistics sensor that works at up to 10 meters. EyeBox2 allows the deployment of algorithms similar to Google's PageRank in the real world, where anything can now be ranked according to the attention it receives. This allows us, for example, to track mass consumer interest in products or ambient product advertisements. I will also illustrate how EyeBox2 ties into our laboratory's research on interactive technologies, showing prototypes of attention sensitive telephones, attentive video blogging glasses, speech recognition appliances as well as the world's first attentive hearing aid.

Roel Vertegaal is the director of the Human Media Lab at the Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. Roel is the founder of Xuuk which offers the EyeBox2, a remote eye tracker that works on up to 10 meters distance (currently $1500) and associated analysis software.

No comments: