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Example Of Our Animated Heat Map Over Video Tip! July 31, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Market Research, Media, Studio, Tips And Tricks, Tobii.

Thanks for all the feedback on this tip – and we are liking some of your bits of work you have shown us… we thought we would post a quick example for those that haven’t had the chance, or have the software (yet!) to try it out….
This is just a short clip of some (old) Wimbledon footage with about 6 people watching the game. The keys here are to allow enough opacity to see the action behind the heat map and also to blend it so its doesn’t look too ‘bolted on’…
If we get clearance for some other videos we have done we will post them up too!

European Conference on Eye Movements 2009 in Southampton July 31, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking.
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The 15th European Conference on Eye Movements will be held in Southampton on the 23rd – 27th and Acuity are proud to be exhibiting and supporting the event. There are many fantastic talks, events and speakers at the event and we urge anyone with an interest in psychology, neurosciences, eye movement research or just about anything else related to eye movements to look at the site and maybe think about attending…

The ECEM website can be found at : http://www.ecem2009.org/

Quick Tip – Exporting Tobii Studio Projects July 30, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Studio, Tips And Tricks, Tobii, Updates, Usability & UX.

A really quick fix for an issue that you may have experienced – or hopefully we can help you avoid!

When you export a Tobii Studio project it creates a NAS file, and these can be pretty big – as they contain eye track data, user camera video and audio, gaze data, AOI data and so on and so on as well as all your stimuli – which could be video, pdf or JPEG… the biggest file I have seen recently was about 30GB!

One of Tobii Studio’s slight little quirks is that it doesn’t tell you how big your file will be, nor does it have a ‘% Completed’ counter so you can attempt the world record for coffee making as you wait for the COMPLETED message to appear… however sometimes you get the ERROR – THE DESTINATION DRIVE DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH FREE SPACE. Cue a few ‘choice’ words and you check your drive again only to find there is 500GB of free space and your Tobii project is about 6GB, at this point most people retry to export thinking it just a temporary thing – only to get the same error again. So what is going wrong!

This is pretty simple to fix – this is all down to Windows and the way it has probably formatted your USB drive or External HDD.

Windows XP and Vista as a default will format in FAT32 file format – which is great to use as it can be read by PC or Mac and it indexes quickly and so on…. but it has a flaw for what we are trying to do with Studio! It will allow only files of up to 4GB – so it is not your disk that is running out of space but the file format itself, it cannot create a bigger file…

Fortunately there is a quick fix! You will need to format your HDD or USB device in NTFS format which has a HUGE upper limit for file size that you shouldn’t (we hope!) be able to hit from Studio… Remember though that as you format the drive it will overwrite any data, also Mac’s cannot read NTFS so you wont be able to access the data on that drive (or partition of that drive if you are being a little clever!) from a Mac. We recommend getting a 16GB USB drive exclusively for copying over your data to another analysis machine or similar – they are readily available for £20 or less and you can use this to transfer your data.


If you look at the screenshot above it shows how to reformat a whole drive (if you are not comfortable with this procedure get someone who is – you don’t want to wipe anything irreplacable), you choose the device to format, right click and select format and then when the new dialogue box opens you change the FILE SYSTEM type to NTFS. Select QUICK FORMAT and give your disk a name and you are done!

When you import the project to another copy of Tobii Studio it will then return to its normal file format and everything should be good!

Eye Tracking From An Artists Point Of View July 28, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Marketing, Media, Tobii.
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At Acuity we are always keen on seeing new innovations and applications for eye tracking, from tracking animals to setting up shelves that watch you watching them – we like to think we can create a set-up to track just about everything…. Recently an art student contacted us about renting an eye tracker for his final project at The Arts Institute of Bournemouth for his BA. In his own words he is “passionate about graphic design, digital technologies, human behaviour and the world in which we live” and as we are keen to support new talent, and were excited by some of his ideas we agreed a very special deal for his rental and let him loose with the Tobii T120 and Tobii Studio.

Adam will be the first to say that he as very suprised by how easy the tracker and software was to use, and revised his final project to suit – and came through with some interesting ideas…

One of Adam’s projects was to get people to imagine an image, and draw it onto a blank screen – try it, it is a lot more difficult than it sounds! He also experimented with creating typefaces and looked at how people look at each other, as friends or strangers…

With the help of his final project Adam got a well deserved 1st in his degree – and you can see his work showcased on his excellent website : http://www.adamrobbins.co.uk/ and you can see his blog about his eye tracking exploits at : http://adrobbins.blogspot.com/search/label/Eye%20Tracking .

Adam was also selected to have his work displayed at the D&AD new blood exhibition 2009 at London’s Kensington Olympia – the biggest and most prestigious showcase of creative graduate work in the UK.

Acuity would like to congratulate Adam on his result and also his initiative – and would like to hear from other people that have tried something a little different with eye tracking….

Freeware Or Trial Video Packages With Chroma Key Function July 24, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Tobii, Uncategorized.
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We have had a lot of great feedback about our tip for animating heatmaps over video files. We have also had a lot of people say they don’t have Premiere Pro, and asking for other packages they could use. We have had some Mac users say that the Apple Video Editing software does the job, but I also found this page http://www.fileheap.com/freesoftware/chroma_key.html which has a few links of software that has the right feature set.

I haven’t tried them all yet, and of course we can’t take any responsibility for how well they work, so basically it’s at your risk! But free is a lot cheaper than Premiere!

Acuity ETS Tobii Studio Trick Number 2 – Animated Heat Maps Over Video Stimuli July 20, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Tobii, Uncategorized, Updates, Usability & UX.

Acuity brings you the next tip forTobii Studio – this one is a little more complex than the questionnaire guide, and requires you to have a piece of video software to piece it together – however what it does allow you to do is to present animated heatmaps over moving video stimuli, something not yet supported within Studio. This is extremely useful for TV advertising (especially if you are using Studio Professional and don’t have access to the BeeSwarm tool) or sponsorship / advertising studies within sports. Please note that the quality of the results may vary depending on the video package and codecs used, the quality of your original source video and also the complexities of the heat map…. We figured this out a few months back and haven’t had time to fully exploit it yet – so if anyone has any great ideas we would be more than happy to hear them!

As I said earlier this is more complex than our other how to guide – and you need to think before setting up your test maybe a little more than usual, but it works and it does the job – and clients love it!

Firstly within your Tobii Studio test where you have your video stimuli ensure there is either a black (blank) frame at the end of the video, and indeed each subsequent video in the test. If there isn’t insert a black JPEG image as an image element in the test with maybe a 1 second exposure.

Next sit your participants through the test as normal – you can create filter questions and groups as you would with any other test….

Now comes the bit where you have to do a bit of work! For each of the video elements you want to create heatmaps for you need go to the REPLAY tab in Studio, and create a SCENE, and within the scene you want the video you wish to analyse AND the black (blank) screen image you added in, or that was at the end of the video anyway. Now, select the black frame as the SCENE IMAGE. If you go into the VISUALISATION section of Studio you should have now a stimuli listed as NEW_SCENE1 or something similar – and if you click on HEAT MAP you should get a heat map over a black background – this is correct!

Now export the HEAT MAP as an animated visualisation, without a legend is probably best. To export animated visualisations you need to upgrade to Studio 1.5 if you haven’t already done so. This will now give you an animated heat map as an avi – we are nearly there so don’t panic! Please make sure you select a sliding interval on the heat map otherwise you will get a build up of data and that won’t look pretty! (Thanks Anastasia at Think Eyetracking for pointing out my deliberate mistake!)

We now have two files – one is the original video source (as you added to the timeline in Tobii Studio) and the other is an avi file exported from Studio just showing the HEAT MAP. This is where you need a video editing package, we use ADOBE PREMIERE PRO but anything with basic functionality should do the trick.

With Premiere Pro you have numerous audio and video tracks you put side by side and can fade / edit across etc. What you do is drop both video files into the software so they start at the same time (This is why the black frame goes at the end – we need to ensure the heat map is in sync with the video stimuli file – the odd second of black at the end is irrelevant) and then we need to remove the black background colour from the HEAT MAP image. On Premiere Pro this is done with the CHROMA KEY function, selecting BLACK as the colour and adjusting the BLEND between 75-100% – on other packages it may be called different things! This is like blue screening a movie SFX shot – by selecting the BLACK (for the background) you can remove that from the HEAT MAP image and now we just have an animated HEAT MAP played over the top of our video file!

We also think it is a nice touch to add your company logo over the video file too – just repeat the CHROMA KEY process as above for your logo file.

From here – export it at the best possible quality and et voila – animated heatmaps over video.

Acuity would love to hear ho you get on with using this tip, and any comments or ideas… contact us on 01189 000795 or emails us at jon@acuity-ets.com.

Latest Updates On Hands Free Gaming Using A Tobii T60 July 15, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Media, Tobii, Updates.
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Our friend Jonathan at Trinity College, Dublin has added some more detail to his blog regarding the work he has done on the voice and gaze control game for his MSc project – he is working very quickly and there are three more blog posts since we last mentioned it.


Take a look at the updates here : http://navonodo.blogspot.com/

Gaze Control In Gaming – With An Added Twist! July 8, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Media, Tobii, Uncategorized, Usability & UX.
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Acuity ETS are very pleased to be helping Jonathan O’Donovan, an MSc student from Trinity College in Dublin, with his project looking at combining gaze interaction in gaming along with voice control and speech recognition. We have given him the use of a T60 eye tracking unit and with a combination of the incredibly flexible Tobii SDK (software development kit) and Jonathan ability with other pieces of software he is putting together a game which will hopefully allow fully hands free interaction! The benefits of this type of project are far reaching, from gaming opportunities for disabled users, through to fully interactive GUI’s and work interfaces, PC desktops and much more. Jonathan has his own development blog here : http://navonodo.blogspot.com/ and we will be keeping you up to date on the Acuity ETS blog.

If you have a similar project in mind, can think of an application that may benefit from the work Jonathan is doing or have a general enquiry about any Tobii product then please feel free to contact Acuity on sales@acuity-ets.com or call us on 01189 000796.

Firmware Updates Available For T60, T120, X60, X120 and T60XL Eye Trackers July 8, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Market Research, Tobii, Updates.
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There have been recent updates to the Tobii Eye Tracker firmwares for their current range of units. These updates correct minor issues and ensure that your tracker is working at it’s optimal capabilities. The downloads are available via the Tobii website, or contact sales@acuity-ets.com to get a link to the download for your machine.

The update is quick to do, taking about 30 seconds once you have the file! And as always Acuity are on hand to help you!

Tobii Studio 1.5.10 Released For Download July 8, 2009

Posted by Jon Ward in eye tracking, Market Research, Tobii, Updates.
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Studio has had another update and version 1.5.10 is available for download. To get the latest version open Studio, go to HELP on the menu bar, and then CHECK FOR UPDATES. Save the file to your desktop and close Studio. Then double click on the installer icon for version 1.5.10 and follow the onscreen prompts.