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3D – The Key to Tobii’s Performance Lead October 17, 2016

Posted by Scott Hodgins in eye tracking, Usability & UX, Marketing, Media, Market Research, Tobii, Updates, Tips And Tricks, Technology, Shopper Research, Glasses, neuromarketing.
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This post is trying to answer some of the most common questions that we get asked – Why should I buy a Tobii? Why is it better? System “X” has a “better head box” and system “Y” is cheaper.

The answer from our point of view is simple, the eyetracking is more accurate than using other systems for more people over a longer timeframe.

This is a pretty grand claim, why are we so confident?

Let’s start at the beginning; Eyetracking itself is straight forward, there are several well documented methods to find and follow the pupil, Tobii uses a non-intrusive video based technique called “Pupil Centre Corneal Reflection” (PCCR). Essentially an IR illuminator is used to help differentiate between the pupil and the iris, it also creates a highlight or glint that we use as well. The Tobii systems use an improved version of this idea, the secret-sauce as it were being a combination of two things, illumination and data modelling. These two areas allow the remote and wearable trackers to monitor the respondents relative 3D position in space, adjust the calibration parameters in the 3D physiological model, and therefore afford a far greater range of movement than similar systems while keeping accuracy and precision.
(Figure below shows the native 3D data from the TG2)


Illumination: Tobii can use up to two different lighting techniques known as bright and dark pupil to optimise the illumination for the participant in that location, and crucially when they move we can adapt the illumination to keep track of them. This allows a Tobii to offer people greater freedom of movement while retaining the tracking accuracy without the need for constant drift correction from the system operator.

Data modelling: The Tobii method is different having typically used multiple cameras in their research grade eyetrackers and have done since the launch of the T and X series systems in 2007/8. The advantage of using multiple cameras is that we can physically describe the location of the eye in space. That is to say we know with a very high degree of accuracy where the centre of your eye is, and which eye it is, for every sample recorded. The slightly different images from the pair of cameras in an X2 for example allows the creation of a 3D physiological model of the eyes it is tracking during calibration. This approach allows Tobii to understand the movement of the eye or the eyetracker should one or the other move and adjust the calibration accordingly with a high degree of precision.

The net result is that the these systems can accommodate movement, even if the head leaves the area trackable by the hardware and can recover tracking when the eyes are visible again, this is one of the reasons people keep choosing Tobii for demanding applications like infant research and in-vivo commercial research. In a recent study Acuity Intelligence recruited 330 people as they were entering supermarkets and didn’t have to turn away a single participant because they could not be tracked – a first for any data collection exercise with this number of people regardless of the brand of technology they were using.

Don’t just take out word for it, please challenge us, whether it is onscreen, in the real world or in the emerging AR and VR application areas we can help.


Tobii Glasses 2 – Great for Human Performance Studies, Indoors or Out! October 4, 2016

Posted by Jon Ward in Biometric, eye tracking, Glasses, TEA, Technology, Tobii, Uncategorized.
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One of Acuity’s directors, Scott, likes to run around in the forest early morning and do some circuit training and we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to test out the Tobii glasses alongside his fitness tracker and GPS watch which allows us to overlay his positional data, heart rate, speed and distance travelled over the eye tracking video output. This would give a researcher a fantastic insight into the participants performance during sports research, medical or clinical trials or military type studies and is really simple to integrate. What really stood out for us was how well the Tobii Glasses 2 performed across a wide range of lighting conditions, movement, physical activity and stayed resilient to the moisture in the air and the beads of sweat from Scott’s forehead!

By using it’s unique four camera eyetracking system the Tobii Glasses can compensate for slippage which occurs under normal use – and was even more extreme under these test conditions – and it remains accurate, as you can see for the video! Also with the low hanging sun coming up through the trees, the Tobii Glasses full HD scene camera worked fantastically and eyetracking data remained solid, robust and accurate.

Don’t just take my word for it – have a look for yourself and if you want to discuss the Tobii Glasses, our range of biometric options or anything else then please don’t hesitate to get in touch via sales@acuity-ets.com or on +44 1189 000795.


Posted by eyetrackrob in Biometric, Captiv, Market Research, neuromarketing, Shopper Research, TEA, Technology.
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In recent years eyetracking has become a standard measurement in many research fields and with the “neuro”-hype many companies and universities have started to add direct and / or indirect measurements of the central nervous system to their research toolbox aiming to add an additional dimension to help understand human behaviour and decision making.

Far from being a complete catalogue of all the options currently available this series of posts will concentrate on the more practical, and commonly used, tools for commercial research – things such as salience mapping, eyetracking, facial expression analysis, electroencephalography (EEG), implicit association tests and galvanic skin response (GSR).

With the dawn of wearable fitness devices that can easily measure blood volume pulse (BVP), from which heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) may be derived, access to these measurements have become much easier, although not without limitations as it will become clearer in this series of blogs. Additionally some of those wearable fitness devices do allow some measurement of measure electro-dermal activity (EDA) and skin temperature showing that this technology is not far from mainstream use, at least in some form.


Although the word “neuro” is very often thought as a synonym for “brain”, neuroscience comprises the study of the complete nervous system and the tools and techniques involved are suited to measure directly or indirectly certain aspects of the processes occurring within. These tools can be broadly divided into three categories : neuro measurements, behavioural measurements and biofeedback measurements. The latter is as good as a starting point as any.

Our nervous system is quite complex and can be divided into different branches which monitor and control different body functions.

One of the branches, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), is responsible for quick fight or flight reactions. By constantly accessing the surroundings and scanning for situations that could potentially be dangerous an evaluation takes place which leads to preparations for an adequate fight or flight reaction. These preparations can be measured throughout the body and include changes in heart rate, levels of sweat on hands and feet and respiration.


The reactions of the SNS are not immediate to the exposure to the stimulus to be evaluated. Reaction times and strength are highly individual and distinct for different measures. They can vary between 400 milliseconds up to 5 seconds. As part of the fight or flight reactions, the change in sweat levels on the palms and fingertips is thought to be an evolutionary mechanism allowing a firmer grip. Interestingly this reaction can also be measured on the feet!

Changes in pulse are associated with changes in either physical exercise or arousal. If physical exercise is constant, heart rate variation can be a reliable index of arousal. Research has been conducted measuring different combinations of HRV and heart rate related to stress and to the identification of positive or negative valence and even specific emotions.

A third measured physiological measurements is respiration. The perception or anticipation of odours is depended on respiration. In other words our sense of smell and therefore emotional activation through it, is enhanced by respiration. Research has associated respiration rate and depth with emotional impact and emotional valence.


At Acuity we provide tools to measure biofeedback synchronized with eyetracking to help understand not only where people are looking but also the emotional impact that it is causing. We can provide a series of sensors from different manufacturers that can be brought together into Captiv L700, a software from our friends over at TEA ergo (click here to see a video of the TEA Captiv Software integrating a variety of neuro-tools).
We are also happy to help you with training to explain how those sensors work, what they are measuring and get you started on the analysis and interpretation side of things.

My next post will focus on GSR but I will cover other biometrics, EEG, facial expression analysis and complements to eyetracking data in the following posts.

Stay tuned or feel free to get in touch via sales@acuity-ets.com to learn more about how to use neuro-tools in your research.

Where Is The Value From Eyetracking August 9, 2016

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Market Research, Marketing, Shopper Research, Technology, Tobii, Usability & UX.
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Of the past decade we have seen eyetracking move out of the research labs and academic institutes and begin to hit mainstream uses in markets such as gaming and control of operating systems, but if we look holisitically over every possible use and application for this amazing technology one question crops up quite regularly – “what can’t you eyetrack?”

Potentially this could prompt a simple answer and we list some obvious things and limitations of eyetracking as a technology – but I think the bigger question is “will eyetracking add value to what I am doing?” as it isn’t always obvious where the return on investment is from the data that eyetracking gives you.

There are actually very few situations where you can’t eyetrack people (or indeed some species of animal!) – for example recently Tobii equipment was used to eyetrack a F1 driver (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjkUUMZnTnU) where the latest technology readily mounted inside the very snug and close-fitting helmet of Nico Hulkenberg. Staying with a sports theme Zoe Wimshurst from Southampton Solent University used the Tobii Glasses on a gymnast who performed a number of backflips while the equipment not only stayed in place, but also remained accurate thanks to Tobii’s 4 camera binocular platform (https://twitter.com/ZoeWimshurst/status/760472938499936256). And while we are name dropping I eyetracked Cristiano Ronaldo some years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NcUkvIX6no) with a previous generation platform. Sports is one thing, but what about something different… how about primate research, yup – we can tick the box there as well! For example some trials we did with Edinburgh Zoo (http://www.living-links.org/2012/11/), and the typical uses of consumer shopper and online research, psychology, linguistics and infant research are all areas where eyetracking is heavily involved, and this is of course now developing into the virtual world, mounting systems into VR and AR units for the next generation of these fields… not to mention interaction within gaming – both user testing and for control applications (http://www.tobii.com/xperience/apps/the-division/).


Eye tracking at Edinburgh Zoo


So you might say “great PR but what does that give us apart from a YouTube video” – well lets look at some examples, starting with F1 – if by watching the eye movements and point of gaze of a F1 driver we can shave 0.1 seconds per lap from a 58 lap race, we gain 6 seconds. In the Australian GP 7 drivers (from the 16 that finished) could have gained a position with this advantage, one driver could have jumped 4 places – gaining 7 points in the drivers championship in the process. For a footballer, releasing the ball 0.25 second earlier because you have the ability to read the field more efficiently visual performance training could be the difference between beating the offside trap and scoring or dropping points in a multi-billion pound race to the title. In elite performance the smallest of margins can mean winning or losing, and in today’s environment that could mean the difference between fame and fortune, or fading into obscurity.


F1 Eye Tracking


If we look at medical or clinical uses, being able to identify things like autism at an earlier stage (using non-verbal responses through measuring eye movements) allows parents and clinicians to adapt and plan a child’s education to minimise the impact on their development and lets the family be more prepared moving forward. Building up databases of typical and non-typical developing children from all walks of life both in and out of the lab allows milestones to be measured, new learning or rehabilitation techniques to be developed. Being able to extract information without the requirement for self reporting or verbal communication breaks down barriers that would otherwise mean that diagnosis may not be available for weeks, months or even years later otherwise. Using the latest techniques for training and both real and virtual presentation of scenarios means that we can now train healthcare professionals, surgeons and patients in situations that could be life threatening without the risk, and by understanding totally how they interact and engage gives us insights never before available.




When looking at process management, health and safety or manufacture there are always people in a workplace that are ‘naturals’ at what they do, they have either adapted to their task very comfortable and excelled, or more likely through repetition and learning have become expert. Using eyetracking we can observe how these people operate, understand if and how they anticipate next steps, how they scan and search for elements or their situational awareness. Next we bring on the novice or the person to improve, observe them and compare them to our experts, guiding their interactions with a proven benchmark. An accident at work can be costly both in financial and possibly human terms, so use a simulator, VR environment or test area and monitor people’s actions and movements – and pre-empt possible bad situations. Does that fork lift driver check either side of the load often enough? How is that member of the QA team better at spotting defects in products – is their search strategy different? What makes that soldier better at finding ground disturbance in the field and locating IED’s? How can we be sure a mechanic checks every inch of an engine during a service and a vehicle is safe to use?


See how a mechanic checks an engine


Let’s think about consumer research – a mainstay of eyetracking and an ever growing market place. With the adoption of mobile devices on-screen real estate is smaller, we consume information quicker and we need to be more efficient at being noticed, getting our message across and of course helping the customer with their journey. A 1% increase in click-throughs, sign up or user experience could mean huge increases in a companies KPI’s but often selling in ideas and changes to a stakeholder can be challenging. Eyetracking provide a very visual way to demonstrate why customers aren’t (or indeed are!) doing what was expected on a website, image or menu system. Jumping into the retail space we are bombarded with products, signage, offers, POS, noise, colour and a whole lot more every time we walk through a shop entrance, or a mall, or a petrol forecourt – consumers self reporting their actions always has its limitations and this is even more evident in such a busy space as a retail outlet. Our eyes are digesting heaps of information, our brain is processing and discarding things that aren’t pertinent to the task and consumers simply can’t remember, never mind verbalise, all of this at the rate it is going. Unlock the subconscious by measuring the bodies leading input device – the visual system. Again small performance gains at the checkout in one store quickly multiply to large increases across a brand, retailer or globally. What distracts the shopper or draws their attention away from where we want them to look? What attracts them to our competitors? What elements do they use to navigate, make a decision or determine quality? Can people navigate around the virtual store before we invest in deploying the new layout?


Heat map in a virtual store


Think about your project, objective or study – is the interaction with the stimulus, product, environment or other people of interest? Do you want to know what and when they use visual information at any stage in the trial to inform the decision-making process? Do you want to understand why someone is better at a task than someone else? Do you want a very visible way of demonstrating a participants behaviour to a stakeholder? If the answer to any of these questions (or many more similar to these) is yes, then there is value in eyetracking for you.

Speak to us about methodologies for your study, the different types of equipment on hand and how we can help you get the insights you need.


Tobii Glasses 2 Software Updates! April 13, 2016

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Tobii, Updates.
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As part of the evolution of the Tobii Glasses 2 software platforms we are happy to announce some new functionality released and available now!

Event Logging in the Tobii Pro Glasses Controller  We have added the possibility to log live events in the Pro Glasses Controller software. This enables you to highlight interesting parts during the recording. The events can also be exported, together with all the other data collected, into the Tobii Pro Glasses Analyzer software.

Time of Interest Feature in the Tobii Pro Glasses Analyzer  The latest release of the Pro Glasses Analyzer includes the option to segment data by creating custom portions of it.  With the Time of Interest feature, you can choose a start event and a stop event to get a clearly defined set of data for a particular event.  Also, we added the possibility to view logged live events, created in the Pro Glasses Controller, to be able to find the interesting parts of the recording and use these when creating Times of Interest.

Other improvements in this release:

  • New quick-access menu
  • Possibility to resume Real-World Mapping by storing all queued automatic mapping tasks when closing the program
  • Major performance and stability improvements for big projects, where some operations are 10+ times quicker

Just What the Optician Ordered? November 25, 2015

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Market Research, Shopper Research, Tobii.
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It’s been a busy week in Sweden it seems as hot on the heels of the announcement of the amazing new 100hz speed option for the Tobii Glasses 2 system two new accessories have also been announced.

First up is the Precription Lens pack. The Prescription Lenses package contains corrective snap-on lenses for Pro Glasses 2 to facilitate studies involving subjects with either short or long sightedness. From mobile device testing and operator assessments, to sports research and wayfinding studies, these lenses will allow you to include a larger variety of subjects in your research.

The lenses range from -5 to +3 diopter in 0.5 diopter steps in order to provide support for a larger cross-section of the population with vision impairments. Separate lenses are provided for left and right eyes so you can accommodate differences between your subjects’ eyes.

Lens replacement is quick and easy with a magnetic frame that provides an easy-to-use, snap-on interface. At the same time, the solution is attached securely enough for test situations that involve a lot of natural movement, such as in sports research scenarios. Specific lens requirements and replacements are also available and the kit is supplied in a travel case.


Tobii Glasses 2 Prescription Lens Kit


Second is the new carry case and extended battery set. Combining a soft pouch with shoulder strap to carry the recording assistant and an external battery that neatly slots into its own holder on the bag the unit allows users to carry the recording unit in comfort and adding extra convenience for field based research with extended times between battery changes.

The case allows even quicker set-up and ease of use for the participant and researcher – and looks pretty good as well!

TG2 Pouch and Battery TG2 Pouch

Both accessories are available to order now – contact Acuity for more details.

Faster Than a Speeding Eye Tracker November 24, 2015

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Technology, Tobii, Updates.
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We are happy to announce that there is a new addition to the Tobii Glasses 2 eye tracking family… there are now options for both 50hz and 100hz binocular eye tracking with Tobii’s unique 4 camera tracking solution which gives automatic compensation for slippage and movement of the head unit. 100hz allows more granular use of the data, better noise filtering and also the ability to investigate velocity based algorithms with more accuracy than before while retaining ease of use, a super lightweight head unit design and live viewing wired or wireless capability!

100hz solutions are available for order now and shipping in December – existing 50hz Tobii Glasses 2 customers can also upgrade – please contact Acuity for more information or a demonstration.






Tobii Glasses 2 Real World Mapping – Saving Time in the Real World! October 29, 2015

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Shopper Research, Technology, Tobii, Updates, Usability & UX.
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The Tobii Glasses 2 have been a huge success, with the wide angled field of view, live wireless viewing and automatic slippage compensation thanks to the unique 4 camera binocular tracking more and more people are able to do some great fieldwork both unassisted and in a more traditional context. However as with all glasses based eye tracking platforms the analysis of the data is more time-consuming than with a screen based system as you need to code the user data onto reference images to create aggregated visual outputs and statistical metrics. This can be very time-consuming and depending on the type of interactions mapped (fixation or raw data) combined with the environment and task of the user (unboxing a product, retail purchases, driving and so on) can take anywhere from 10 to 20 times the duration of the recording to code – so 100 minutes of total recorded interactions could take upwards of 16 hours to code before you can begin the analysis.

Real World Mapping Example

Tobii Real World Mapping can help reduce this time considerably in many types of study by using advanced computer vision to automatically detect the gaze points based on the reference images you upload – meaning that 10x or 20x multiplier comes down to as little as 2-5x, and processing can be queued so the software can happily run along in the background freeing up valuable staff resources to focus on other tasks.Once the automatic process is completed you are presented with a chart plotting the automatically mapped points, alongside a confidence level in its accuracy and then any missed points (for example if there was a large amount of occlusion in the frame) or mapped points that need some adjustment can be manually corrected by a researcher.

Real World Mapping Example 2

This video has a brief overview of this exciting feature which will be part of next update of the Tobii Glasses Analyzer software.

Real World Mapping from Tobii

Of course not every single study will be able to take advantage of the new functionality, for example very dynamic content such as sports science studies have few or no fixed reference points to work with, objects that are largely occluded constantly or are at extreme distances will not be viable but for a large number of shopper studies, product interaction, mobile and tablet applications, advertising and navigation tasks users should see a significant time savings to using the tool – and by running a pilot (see tip 28 on Tim’s Acuity Intelligence blog for a reminder of the importance of this : http://www.acuity-intelligence.com/blog/eye-tracking-tips-26-30) you can quantify this benefit and also ensure that your reference images are correct and work well – more about that another time!

The Real World Mapping is ready to demonstrate to customers now – so get in touch and we will be happy to walk you through it, and show how it can help you process your glasses based eye tracking data quicker!

Tobii Glasses 2 – 50hz and MEMS Sensor Update April 27, 2015

Posted by Jon Ward in Uncategorized.
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The Tobii Glasses 2 eyetracker has been an amazing success, with its unobtrusive design, wide field of view for tracking and slippage compensation due to the unique 4 camera tracking system – but now the system gets even better.

Glasses 2

Firstly the system will be updated on the next firmware release to track at 50hz on each eye camera, and this benefit will be for all customers, new and existing, and will happen by way of a standard firmware update – no need to return the system to us! As a quick note if you are currently capturing data at 30hz and require consistency within your study, don’t update your glasses just yet as the system cannot be downgraded after the update.

The second update is the activation of the MEMS sensors – so the accelerometer and gyroscope in the device will collect data alongside your eye tracking data – this unique innovation has many potential uses in your research and we are excited to see how people integrate this in their studies.

For those that want to know more about the update there is a webinar tomorrow (sorry for the short notice!) which you can see the details of here : http://www.tobii.com/en/eye-tracking-research/global/about-tobii-pro/event-calendar/tobii-events/tobii-glasses-2-webinar-join-us-for-tobii-pro-glasses-2-50-hz-mems-better-than-ever/ or of course feel free to give us a call!


Glasses 2 Image

Tobii Glasses 2 – The next generation of mobile eye tracking May 20, 2014

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Glasses, Technology, Tobii, Updates, Usability & UX.
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Today Tobii and Acuity are proud to announce the next generation worn eye tracking system. The Glasses 2 platform succeeds the hugely popular Tobii Glasses and is the culmination of years of research and development, interviewing and understanding customer needs and takes advantage of the very latest technological developments.

There are several key issues raised when we discuss glasses based eye tracking systems with our clients :

  1. Does the frame feel natural and does it interfere with peripheral vision?
  2. What is the field of view of the system, can I track everything the customer looks at?
  3. What is the glasses slip or they move them?
  4. Can I read what they are reading?
  5. Can I watch what they do during the testing, like I do with my screen based eye tracker?

To answer question 1 take a look at the image below, showing the new Glasses 2 frame, the arms and design are very similar to a normal pair of spectacles, the lenses are clear, with no large frame to restrict vision or blinker you into looking forward. The eye cameras are mounted very discreetly in the arms reaching down from the bridge, so not only are they a clear and crisp design, they don’t obscure your field of view, don’t blinker your peripheral vision (essential in driving / sports / shopper studies) but the user will also be less conscious about wearing the frame in public, meaning more naturalistic behaviour.

Glasses 2

So we move onto the field of view of both the scene camera and the eyetracking data. Until now mobile eye tracking platforms have used 1 or 2 cameras (either monocular or binocular) to track the users eyes, Tobii have gone with 4 cameras, two per eye and the benefits are immediately obvious. By having two cameras per eye you instantly have a much wider degree of movement on each eye that can be tracked, not only that but by using Tobii’s patented 3D eye modelling the system can also compensate for slippage of the frame – something that has been a curse of eye tracking studies when shoppers move the frame, sports people move quickly or when testing with children who interfere with the frame. Of course being able to track a wide range of movement is not good unless we can visualise the data on the scene camera video, and here we see a huge 675% increase in the number of pixels over the Glasses 1 platform, meaning that the camera is running at a HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. To ensure that the field of view that is tracked maximises the rest of the platform, the camera field of view has been vastly improved to give 90 degrees diagonal FOV, around 25-30% larger our competitors products, the un-obscured frame also means that users have a visual field of view of 160 degrees – so testing is more natural, across a wider field of view in every dimension!

Glasses 2 Image

With this increased field of view, high definition camera and dual camera binocular tracking mobile testing, packaging, reading studies and more all spring to life with the moderator being able to see every interaction, and this can also now be done live via either a cable or wireless connection to a Windows PC or tablet – opening up endless possibilities for testing, and the ultimate in flexibility. With the basic system allowing for post testing recording via the recording device the entry price point is incredibly attractive, and users can upgrade the system as their needs evolve.

Glasses 2 Side

So the 5 key questions we get asked are all ticked off and Tobii haven’t stopped there, there is a new gaze mapping platform allowing for aggregated data across multiple participants, visual and statistical outputs and A/B comparison testing. There is also of course a microphone to record user audio, the scene camera has been angled to ensure that close interactions are captured, a gyroscope and accelerometer embedded for future development and interactions and of course world class eyetracking accuracy and precision!

We are expecting to ship units in October so please contact us to arrange a demo or for more details or visit http://www.tobiiglasses.com.

Glasses 2 Spec