January 28, 2021 The BMS lab

Webcam eye tracker BMS Lab

Eye-tracking is valuable research tool to both academia and practitioners. It can enable the precise evaluation websites, applications or videos and help in identifying usability or procedural flaws. It does this through the use of infrared cameras, which are able to follow a participant’s eye movements and thus see where someone the participant is looking. Eye-tracking can be challenging during the corona pandemic, as specialized equipment is needed which can hardly be shipped to every participant. Web eye-tracking offers great possibilities. It however also has its limitations and caveats.

Since the corona crisis hit the world, the BMS Lab team has not been sitting still. The development team has been busy building tools you need for your online research and education. The newest web-based tool, developed by Andre and Vivek, is our very own webcam eye tracking system. It uses a laptop’s built-in webcam as a video source or can be connected to a high definition webcam that can be shipped or brought to participants. It is easily setup and deployed and requires very minimal instruction. Its precision is currently lacking, which is an inherent result of the use of consumer grade webcams for this professional purpose.

A view of the current preliminary interface.

The tool’s uses

As a result of its strengths and limitations, the tool is very well suited for educational purposes. After all, it can easily be scaled to different group sizes. The tool can be used by large groups of students from the safety of their own home. Moreover, it needs very little support or instruction. It is therefore a nice introduction into eye tracking for students learning in an online environment.

A view of the calibration process

While the tool is mainly suited for educational purposes, it is a viable research tool as well. For research, the tool is a great way to test out an idea you have for eye tracking research in a quick and explorative way. The webcam-based eye tracking tool will be used by module 3 psychology students as a usability testing case. After that, it can be used more widely within the entire faculty. More information will follow soon.

Questions

If you have any questions about the tool or wish to use it, then feel free to contact Peter Slijhuis.