Saturday, August 23, 2008

GaCIT in Tampere, day 2.

The second of GaCIT in Tampere started off with a hands-on lab by Andrew Duchowski. This session followed up on the introduction the day before. The software of choice was Tobii Studio which is an integrated solution for displaying stimuli and visualization of eye movements (scanpaths, heat-maps etc.) Multiple types of stimuli can be used, including text, images, video, websites etc.

The "experiment" consisted of two ads shown below. The hypothesis to be investigated was that the direction of gaze would attract more attention towards the text compared to the picture where the baby is facing the camera.

After calibrating the user the stimulus is observed for a specific amout of time. When the recording has completed a replay of the eye movements can be visually overlaid ontop of the stimuli. Furthermore, several recordings can be incorporated into one clip. Indeed the results indicate support for the hypothesis. Simply put, faces attract attention and the direction of gaze guides it further.

After lunch Boris Velichkovsky gave a lecture on cognitive technologies. After a quick recap of the talk the day before about the visual system the NBIC report was introduced. This concerns the converging technologies of Nano-, Bio-, Information Technology and Cognitive Science.

Notable advances in these fields contain the Z3 computer (Infotech, 1941), DNA (Bio, 1953), Computed Tomography scan (Nano, 1972) and Short Term Memory (CogSci, 1968) All of which has dramtically improved human understanding and capabilities.

Another interesting topic concerned the superior visual recognition skills humans have. Research have demonstrated that we are able to recognize up to 2000 photos after two weeks with a 90% accuracy. Obviously the visual system is our strongest sense, however much of our computer interaction as a whole is driven by a one way information flow. Taking the advaces in
bi-directional OLED microdisplays in to account the field of augmented reality have a bright future. These devices act as both camera and displaying information at the same time. Add an eye tracker to the device and we have some really intresting opportunities.

Boris also discussed the research of Jaak Panksepp concerning the basic emotional systems in the mammals. (emo-systems, anatomical areas and neurotransmitters for modulation)

To sum up the second day was diverse in topics but non the less interesting and demonstrates the diversity of knowledge and skills needed for todays researchers.

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