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Eyetracking, Saliency Mapping and Eye/Mouse clicks… (1/2) February 25, 2010

Posted by Scott Hodgins in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Studio, Technology, Tips And Tricks, Tobii, Uncategorized, Updates, Usability & UX.
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Having seen the debates on LinkedIn, earlier exchanges on our blog, and Twitter it occurred to me that many who are tweeting, re-tweeting, blogging and posting their thoughts online don’t actually get the differences between these different technologies. Hopefully, this short post will help…

Saliency prediction & mapping…

What is it? These tools are, from a geek perspective very cool, although just thinking about the maths behind it will induce a major headache. The basic concept is to analyse an image and mathematically model how an average user will perceive features such as text, logos or imagery. By computing values for shape, colour, contrast, and the changes and rates of change between the features it is possible to assign values and weighting to estimate which features attract the eye of a viewer.

Examples:

3M Visual Attention Service &  FengGui

I believe there is a place for this, although I am not 100% certain exactly where they sit in the “long-tail” behind eyetracking. They do seem to hold some promise for very early stage analysis. As a believer in the power of eyetracking, I would, in my more optimistic moments love to see everyone eyetracking everything, every time they need to make a decision. Back in the real world this is not practical at every stage – you can’t reasonably have a room full of suitable test participants sat around on the off chance you’ll need them on any given day for a series of 5 minute tests.

So where is it useful? I can see this type of algorithm used to add weight to A/B decision making  such as which version of a particular creative is likely to draw the audience – the pink or the green? Maybe the use is in trying to optimise concepts before in-depth, real world, testing. It seems like a logical step to then take this “optimised” creative and then test it in depth against a suitable target audience. Analysing an image to compute saliency, and thereby estimate what people will notice, is one thing, however, actually tracking where people are looking is the only way to truly understand how people actually interact with the stimuli they are shown.

In all, I think that these techniques could mature into a useful partner technology for eyetracking. The 3M offering seems to be the most advanced offering out there – at least in our head to head trials it’s outputs come “closest*” in a static test to eyetracking. *This last statement needs a lot of context and caveats due to the very, very different ways of working, for an honest appreciation get in touch.

Shopper Counting and Attention Analysis Tool February 25, 2010

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Updates.
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After our very brief demo of the shopper counting tool we are now reselling I have pleasure in adding a little more information about the product. Firstly there is a link below to a short PDF going over the key points and some of the USP’s for the product which can be download from our Scribd page… http://www.scribd.com/doc/27438466/Shelf-Tracking-and-Shopper-Flow

The product is basically a hardware and software solution that can be located in places such a kiosks, shop windows, shelving runs in a store, around digital signage or in shopping malls – amongst other places. Data is captured real time, and anonymously (no video is actually recorded) and as you can see from the image below it can differentiate between male and female viewers…(in a truly sexist way – blue for boys, pink for girls!) – the system can cope with multiple viewers at once (footfalls of thousand per day in shopping centres can be accommodated) and using some clever calculations the system picks up if the person is viewing the stimuli (where the camera is located), walking past or looking but not engaging.

Also by using some clever algorithms it can categorise people into one of 4 age categories – allowing both detailed audience analysis, and also the chance to ingrate this into your digital message – for example if the current viewing audience of your billboard were male than you could alter the displayed image to suit that audience. It also allows you to link in to you digital media to count which message (out of potentially many running on a screen on a video loop) received the most interaction, how long they watched it for and more importantly perhaps it can count how many people passed by without giving direct attention to your stimuli.

Units can be set up in multiple locations around the store, country, or around the globe and data is fed back to a simple to use, and customisable web interface where any number of charts can be viewed, and statistical data exported for analysis. You can compare footfall at certain times of the day, compare the male/female split of viewers during the week or monitor performance of store A in Scotland against store B in Germany… below are a few examples of graphical outputs of data, showing (in order from top to bottom) a pie chart showing male/female viewer split, a bar chart showing the total number of viewers against those with the OTS (opportunity to see) figures and finally a pie chart detailing the dwell time of attention on the stimuli.

There is a lot more functionality to the tool – but to ensure we give you the right advice, and for more information on pricing, the metrics available and how this can tie in with eye tracking and traditional shopper research then please contact me at jon@acuity-ets.com or look at our website www.acuity-ets.com.

Tobii Studio and Kaspersky Anti-Virus – Important Technical Tip! February 19, 2010

Posted by Jon Ward in Studio, Technology, Tips And Tricks, Uncategorized, Updates.
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A recent update to Kaspersky anti-virus may make it impossible for you to see your eye tracker as it detects the bi-directional data traffic as a back door attack or virus threat. Before you panic that you have an issue with your eye tracker, if you are using Kaspersky, please do the following to check :

1 : Connect your eye tracker as normal

2 : Open up the Tobii Eye Tracker browser (START>PROGRAMS>TOBII STUDIO>EYE TRACKER BROWSER) and check to see if you can see your eye tracker and also the technical data such as sampling rate etc

3 : If you can’t – try closing down Kaspersky anti-virus  (NOTE : Close it fully do not pause it), allow it 30 seconds or so and your eye tracker should appear in the dialog box.

4 : If this is the case you (or your IT / network administrator) will need to add the eye trackers IP address range to the ‘SAFE ADDRESS’ list in Kaspersky – PLEASE DON’T ATTEMPT THIS IF YOU AREN’T CONFIDENT!

5 : To get the IP range for the eye tracker open a CMD prompt in Windows and type IPCONFIG. You will then see a list of all your devices connected via IP. Make a note of the relevant addresses and add this to your safe addresses.

You should be able to restart Kaspersky now and have no issues connecting to your tracker. For further help on this please contact either Acuity on sales@acuity-ets.com or your local Tobii reseller or technical support outlet.

People Counting and Recognition Tool for Market / Shopper Research and More! February 3, 2010

Posted by Jon Ward in Uncategorized.
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Below is a little sample video of the Acuity team looking sheepish in front of  a new piece of software we are looking at distributing… the software uses a camera facing out of a piece of advertising, a shop fixture or even a store window to see who takes notice of the products, displays or even to count footfall. What sets this apart from other products of this type is that is can also detect – with a very high level of accuracy – the gender of the person viewing (in the video you can see the pink circle for our lovely Natasha, and the blue circle for the even lovelier Jon and Scott!). It also calculates if someone is engaging with the fixture or just walking past (a dotted line indicates not fully engaging whereas a solid circle shows people are looking at the fixture) AND can group people into 4 age groups…. WOW!

The software analysis package is based online and allows to you to break down flow by the day, hour or minute, to collate numbers of cameras in different stores, regions or aisles and to compare historic data to new… there are also lots more reporting options as well which we would be happy to discuss with you.. Please see the video below for a brief demo of the speed and accuracy of the system and get in touch to know more…. as always sales@acuity-ets.com.

E-Prime Start Programme For Tobii Users February 3, 2010

Posted by Jon Ward in Uncategorized.
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For our customers the academic world, and particularly those in psychology, E-Prime plays an important part in their studies and research. As you are aware the Tobii eye tracking system can be integrated into your E-Prime experiments using the E-Prime Extensions for Tobii package available from Acuity or PST themselves. This allows the eye tracker to be controlled within your experiments allowing for detailed and accurate timing, complex experiment set-up and the option (via a 2 PC set-up) to add full visual reporting and dynamics to your E-Prime studies. There is more information on E-Prime Extensions (EET) here : http://www.pstnet.com/software.cfm?ID=100.

What you may not be aware of is the E-Prime starter programme which allows first time users of E-Prime and EET the chance to have a helping hand with setting up their first experiment paradigm and assistance trouble shooting to get you into the swing of things. This service is supported by PST and is free of charge! To apply simply go to the following links and complete the sign on forms and forward them to PST – it’s that simple!

Starter programme introduction letter : http://www.scribd.com/doc/26300354/EET-Starter-Program-Letter

Application form : http://www.scribd.com/doc/26300355/Starter-Program-Application-Form-For-E-Prime-Starter-Programme

Application questionnaire : http://www.scribd.com/doc/26300357/Starter-Program-Questionnaire-For-E-Prime-Starter-Programme

For more information about Tobii systems, E-Prime or EET please go to www.acuity-ets.com or contact me directly at jon@acuity-ets.com.

Studio 2.0.6 and 2.1.4 February 2, 2010

Posted by Jon Ward in Market Research, Marketing, Studio, Technology, Updates, Usability & UX.
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A quick update on the latest updates! Studio 2.0.6 is available to download and is proving stable, so anyone with a valid support contract are advised to upgrade to this iteration now. Simply go to HELP > CHECK FOR UPDATES and the latest version and release notes will be there for you to see.

On a second note we are getting some really good feedback on the pre-release version of Studio 2.1.4 which is also there for you to download BUT is not supported (it’s an ALPHA release) so please PLEASE PLEASE don’t use it for mainline testing!!!! Tobii or Acuity (for that matter!) are not offering support for this release – it is purely to allow people to get a sneak preview on the new statistical tool, which is great! What you can do is capture your data on an existing version of Studio (say 2.0.6 for example!) and then install and analyse the project in 2.1.4 – to take advantage of the new multiple variable statistical tool…

As soon as the new version goes live we will do a tutorial of sorts on the new tool, and for all those of you at Internet World this year come and visit us on our stand and we will happily give you some on the spot training!

More info will go up on www.acuity-ets.com soon, or contact me at jon@acuity-ets.com with any direct questions….