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Virtual Reality – Real Insight August 8, 2017

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Shopper Research, Technology, Updates.
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Imagine the excitement, akin to a Christmas morning as the UPS delivery driver gets you to sign for the box that contains a thing of beauty, your shiny new VR headset. But this is no ordinary VR headset, oh no – not for you – master of all your survey, keeper of the technology, King or Queen of the early adopters! This is a VR headset with a built in eye tracker, and you are ready….. ready to dive into far off lands, explore supermarkets on the other side of the world and measure your virtual driving skills around the race track and then take over the world and….. hang on… wait a minute…. what are these instructions saying? “download the SDK and API and integrate it into your own platform….” but….. but….I don’t have time for this I have worlds to dominate! We hear you and we have the solution to your problem.

The current crop of eye tracking integrations into VR supply you with an API and SDK, and maybe some example code to stream and save data into Unity, WorldViz or similar… but not much else, and while some of the coders out there get excited about this blank canvas our experience is that most people want something they can work with pretty much right away. But it isn’t quite that easy.

Unlike screen based or glasses based eye tracking software where you have a lot of known parameters (the website is on screen and it is http://www.acuity-ets.com, or I know the user was shopping in Tesco in Croydon and this is what the shelf looked like), with VR you could be flying a spaceship down a canyon on Mars, or walking through a prototype Apple store in Singapore via a brief trip to a coffee shop to take part in a social science project. The boundless flexibility of virtual reality presents a challenge, it is almost impossible to create a platform that covers everything anyone might want to do in VR. ALMOST impossible.

At Acuity we have over 10 years’ experience in using eye tracking at the coal face, whether that is selling systems, running research, troubleshooting and advising on R&D or helping people go beyond the heatmap and get real value from the data and we know that people aren’t going to be happy with just an SDK for their new VR headset – they want more. So we made AcuityVR.

AcuityVR is a module designed to work with new or existing Unity assets, meaning that your existing investment in models can be reused, or you can build new ones and we have some amazing content partners we can recommend, if you don’t have in-house capabilities. We don’t ask you to change the way you do things, so if you use controllers for interaction then that’s fine; if you have enough space for people to walk your VR environment – not a problem for AcuityVR. The way we have designed it means that you can drop the code into a driving simulator, a walkthrough of a train station, a virtual pet grooming salon, a retail store, a clinical simulation or…. well just about anything!

We wanted to make the product a logical step from current eye tracking platforms on the market so you will see all the usual functionality in place – you can live view sessions and see the eye gaze as your participant moves around the environment; we have gaze replays, heat maps, opacity maps and statistical analysis of areas of interest – and all of these for single or multiple users. But VR gives us so much more opportunity – how about replaying multiple users at the same time while you view the environment from different angles and when you notice interesting behaviour simply switch to that persons point of view? Add multiple camera views to give different vantage points throughout the journey and view behaviour from 1st or 3rd person perspectives. We also measure and track footfall, dwell time and direction of journey – ideal for wayfinding and layout planning. Of course, being Acuity we know that eye-tracking data requires some specialised algorithms to turn data-points into fixations, and so we took care of that too, so you don’t need a PhD in eye-movements to make sense of the data.

One of the key benefits of research in VR is that you control the entire environment and this provides a number of benefits that simply can’t be matched in real world testing. Firstly every single item in an environment can be automatically classed as an AOI. That’s right, no more drawing little boxes or creating key frames. Every item in the environment can automatically have statistical data captured. In real time. If a person engaged with something you didn’t expect, no problem AcuityVR already has the stats. Measure fixations, glances, average fixations durations and time to first fixation instantly. Want to re-use the dataset for POS instead of product interaction, sure – the data is already there and rea   dy to go! All of our visualisations, replays, stats and other tools are available instantly after the session is finished – no more waiting for days for coding, number crunching or exporting image and videos. This leads to both time and cost efficiencies in research, design cycles and implementing change.

VR allows you to control the world (well, at least the virtual world – actual global domination comes later!) – imagine the possibilities of being able to dynamically change environments. Turn a daytime driving simulation into night instantly, then add some fog or a thunder storm. Take products out of stock off the shelf or change pricing in real time. Have an avatar respond negatively to the user by not making eye contact with them. Use 3D audio to totally immerse the user…. the possibilities are endless within VR, and eye tracking adds a whole new dimension for optimisation, interaction and research capabilities in virtual environments. But without a tool to capture and anlyse the data, all that potential can prove difficult to achieve. AcuityVR is that tool.

Give us a call, drop us an email or maybe send us a virtual hello at sales@acuity-ets.com or visit http://www.AcuityVR.com for more.


Copy Cat Brands – Who is Trying to Steal Your Attention? October 31, 2016

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, neuromarketing, Shopper Research.
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Tim from Acuity has recently been speaking at a conference in Peru where he presented some of the exciting findings from our parasitic brands research last year. Using the world leading facilities at the GSK SSL and in partnership with the British Brands Group we tested people’s recognition of famous brands and their not-so-famous imposters under a variety of conditions. Have a watch of the video below and maybe head over to the Acuity Intelligence website and read more about the study here : http://www.acuity-intelligence.com/blog/statute-of-imitations


The New Tobii X2 Eye Tracker – The Smallest And Most Flexible Eye Tracker On The Market! February 11, 2013

Posted by Natasha French in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Shopper Research, Technology, Tobii, Uncategorized, Updates, Usability & UX.
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Acuity are proud to present the new Tobii X2 eye tracker – a ground breaking development in delivering the smallest and most flexible eye tracker on the market!


The Tobii X2-30 Eye Tracker (available in Compact Edition and Wide Edition) is a revolutionary small eye tracking system, powered by the latest generation in innovative eye technology from Tobii.

The Tobii X2 family comprises of eye tracking systems at 30 and 60 Hz. The X2 can easily be clipped on to a laptop, a PC monitor, or even a tablet for a compact and is our most portable system yet!

Research anywhereSmall footprint accommodates truly portable solutions and enables expansion of eye tracking from lab to real-life environments.

Supreme efficiency Ease of set up and operation paired with very robust participant tracking allow for cost efficient studies.

Trust your data – Unparalleled tracking accuracy within a revolutionary large head movement box ensures reliable and valid research results.

Choose between the Compact Edition and the Wide Edition – depending on your specific study context!

The Compact Edition is a smaller version of the eye tracker, measuring 184 mm (7.3’’) in length. You can use it as your portable lab or for studies that require a small eye tracker to track what participants see on:

  • Laptops and smaller PC monitors up to app. 22’’
  • Tablets and mobile phones (dedicated mobile device accessories will be available soon)
  • Small real-world interfaces

The Wide Edition is designed for studies that require larger gaze angles (up to 37°) and enables studies that involve larger stimuli, being able to track interfaces such as:

  •  PC monitors up to app. 27’’
  •  TV
  • Projections and simulators
  • Large real-world interfaces

Acuity are offering both rental and purchase options. As always for more information please contact the Acuity team at; sales@acuity-ets.com or (0)1189000795!

UCD2012 Conference at Cavendish Square, London… See You There! November 8, 2012

Posted by Natasha French in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Technology, Uncategorized, Usability & UX.
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Last weekend it was ‘The Ski and Snowboarding Show’, this weekend it’s UCD2012 Conference at Cavendish Square, London…. I suppose you could say we get around a bit!

So why UCD2012 and why Acuity? The show aims to give people the opportunity to enjoy real world case studies, inspiring presentations and hands on workshops focusing on user centred design in the real world by offering opportunities for learning and sharing with like-minded people. With UCD2012 being a not-for-profit conference for the community (it’s only been possible due to the presenters donating their time!) Acuity felt it was important to show our support by attending the event and sharing our own experiences and knowledge on the day.

With that in mind, on Saturday 10th November, Acuity will be holding interactive workshops with eye tracking and other complementary technologies we offer such as GSR, EEG and wireless biometrics – please note that if you are attending workshops are on a first come first served basis! Getting there early is advisable!

In addition to this, our very own Jon Ward will be giving a talk on ‘Palm Reading for The 21st Century?’ (I’ll let the mystery with that continue until Saturday!) and with talks from our friends at Cyberduck, Amberlight, User Vision, NileHQ, Sapient Nitro and Foolproof – it’s set to be an interesting and informative weekend. With our Christmas night out planned for the evening, it could be eventful too.

UCD2012 starts on Friday 9th November at 9.00am and finishes on Saturday 10th November at 5.00pm. For information and event updates please go to http://www.ucd2012.org

False Memories…. October 1, 2012

Posted by Natasha French in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Shopper Research, Technology.
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Tim Holmes, Technical Director at our sister company Acuity Intelligence, is an avid blogger and he’s inspired me. He’s put my lack of blogging to shame so without further ado, I’m going to write my first (of many) blogs – beginning with an entry prompted by forensic psychologist Scott Fraser and a TED talk he recently gave that considers ‘Why Eye Witnesses Get It Wrong’.

Although centred on a criminal case, this talk illustrates from a different perspective why using memory recall alone can show itself to be an unreliable way of gaining evidence. It also demonstrates why it’s so important that behavioural measures and analysis techniques are used to help determine the veracity of a particular memory.

Fraser attributes false memory as ‘the reason why eye witnesses get it wrong’. He explains that we can’t cope with all the sensory input so we filter it based on what we think is important at the time. This is what attention is! So when something becomes important after the fact, it isn’t necessarily in our memory at all.

A great example of this from eye-witness world is something called ‘weapon focus’ which means that if there’s a gun present, the witness tends to focus all their attention on the gun (the thing that they THINK is a threat to them) rather than the person holding the gun (the thing that is ACTUALLY a threat to them)so in the case of Fraser’s case study, the witness only has a partial story, and with no requirement for any motivation processing, the brain then is then filled with information that wasn’t actually stored in the first instance. On reflection, I can think of many instances where I’m sure something has happened, only to be told by my husband, ‘’that’s not the case’’ (I’m SURE I told him I was going to buy that new pair of shoes….!)

So, back to Fraser’s point about false memory, if a subject is recalling an experience that they believe to be a truthful statement of events, it could still be inaccurate and misleading. In a commercial context, there’s nothing to suggest that this situation would be different if a subject were asked to recall a shopping experience and recall ‘why’ their attention was drawn to a particular pack or after being asked to ‘think about the last time they bought an item’. This was illustrated by a classic article in Psychological Review ‘Telling More Than We Know; Verbal Reports on Mental Processes’ by Richard E.Nisbett and Timothy DeCamp Wilson at the University of Michigan. In this paper, cognitive psychologists Mandler, Miller and Neisser propose that ‘we have no direct access to order mental processes such as those involved in evaluation, judgement, problem solving and the initiation of behaviour’.

Frasers talk doesn’t surprise me. It’s been suggested that 95% of all decisions we make are subconscious with Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School and other psychologists supporting this idea and it makes sense that if most of our behaviour is subconscious and the brain tries to fill in any gaps with what it thinks is most likely based on experience. Eye tracking and physiological measures give you specific metrics which are derived from that subconscious decision making processes in addition to a consciously expressed opinion or pieced together memory. In other words, together with the consumers self-report, they give you a much more complete picture.

On a closing note, irony would have it that during Fraser’s talk there was inaccuracy in one of Fraser’s comments about the Twin Towers, clearly illustrating a faulty example testifying a good theory.

A talk on false memory with a false memory is somewhat ironic but does prove a point!

Tobii Launch the X1 Light Eye Tracker – Take Your Testing On The Road…. EASILY! January 27, 2012

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Media, Studio, Technology, Tobii, Updates, Usability & UX.
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Earlier this week Tobii launched another groundbreaking product – the X1 Light.

The X1 Light eye tracker is a truly portable lab, that you can literally fit into your laptop bag and test in situ, wherever and whenever you want. With device stands for both desktop, screen based, laptop based and real world testing this is a hugely flexible piece of equipment for market research, usability and more. There is plenty of information on our website about the X1 Light here : http://www.acuity-ets.com/products_x1-series.htm and you can also see an introduction video here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B1r3xuqDck

The X1 Light can be used with the free of charge Morae plug-in for usability studies or you can use it with Tobii Studio, the most popular eye tracking analysis software in the world!

For more information, specifications and pricing please don’t hesitate to contact sales@acuity-ets.com .

Studio 3.0.1 Update Released…. January 20, 2012

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, Glasses, Studio, Technology, Tobii, Updates.
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Just a quick post – and sorry for not being very active on here lately…. Studio 3.0.1 update is now available for download from here : http://studiohelp.tobii.org/Updates/ where you simply need to enter your licence key to access to the installer.

Why have we been so quiet? Well we have been putting together the final touches on Acuity Intelligence, our sister company who can be found on www.acuity-intelligence.com where we will be looking at more integration of hardware and software across a wide range of disciplines such as biometrics, analytics, motion capture and more! Check it out or get in touch!

Tobii Studio 3.0 – What’s In The Update December 13, 2011

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, eye tracking, Market Research, Marketing, Shopper Research, Studio, Technology, Tobii, Usability & UX.
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Well it is just over a week now since Studio 3.0 went live for Tobii users and the feedback so far has been all positive – but some users on earlier versions, and other customers have asked “So what’s new?” – so I am on hand to give you a quick rundown of the key functions / changes in 3.0…

General fixes : There have been a number of stability and resource issues addressed in line with updating the database type to accommodate the new data from the biggest new feature in 3.0 – dynamic areas of interest.

New text export tool : For customers who like to play with the raw data and export data sets to packages such as SPSS, Matlab, R and so on there is a much more flexible and powerful text export tool. Not only do you have more data sets to choose from, you can also create templates of the reports you like and save them for future use – much as you can do with the fixation filter settings since the update in 2.3.

Remote viewer (Enterprise edition) : The old Studio Remote Logger has been replaced with a sleeker, more stable remote viewer. Unfortunately the logger functionality has gone – however it has been replaced with a better, solid, lightweight viewer that has much better buffering and stability across a network – sending user cameras, screen data, gaze data and mouse interactions over a network.

Dynamic areas of interest : Areas of interest now have a life of their own! You can reshape, resize and move areas of interest to compensate or track movement in videos, web pages, Glasses recordings and more – the powerful tools allow you to quickly manipulate the AOI as you wish, press a button and get your statistics for the dynamic interaction, or indeed group them together using the AOI tools to get data aggregated across all sorts and types of stimuli!

Along with all these features there are also some visual changes to the GUI and a few little bits and pieces which all add up to a great update for the worlds market leading eye tracking software! See the data sheets for more information or contact us on sales@acuity-ets.com to find out more!

Studio 3.0 Brochure – Academic Research

Studio 3.0 Brochure – Commercial Research

Eye Tracking Ronaldo and Combining Eye Tracking With Motion Capture September 23, 2011

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, Dikablis, Ergoneers, eye tracking, Glasses, Technology, Tips And Tricks.

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks with a lot of interest in the Dikablis eye tracker after the Ronaldo footage was shown across the world… I finally got around to posting the footage on YouTube for those that didn’t see it go to http://www.youtube.com/user/AcuityETS#p/a/u/0/2NcUkvIX6no and check it out if you haven’t already.

But the TV show didn’t allow us to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Dikablis system, which is designed not only for eye tracking but also integration to other software platforms, research tools and custom interfaces. Not only does the Dikablis allow fully wireless transmission and live viewing of data up to 5km away (designed from inception for testing vehicles and ergonomics during real world scenarios) but we can also synchronise the data stream to any number of input devices. The SimLab driving simulator takes things a step further, with a choice of screen sizes and types you can create VR worlds and eye track drivers as they navigate, drive and interact with the vehicle. On top of this every key switch, button press and acceleration is logged, marked and tied together allowing you to accurately plot every aspect of the users behaviour.

For other types of experiment, such as gait monitoring, sports studies and environmental testing we can look at the D-Control interface. This allows us to add 4 additional video streams to the eye tracking data, so this could be different views of the participants, different elements the user will interact with or perhaps different views of a cricketers approach to bowl?

But we aren’t finished there…. we can also utilise the Dikablis system with the Vicon motion capture system, as seen tracking Ronaldo in the TV show and as seen in this demonstration video here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqVynnEXpY8 … so as well as having multiple views of the participant filmed by traditional cameras, we can also monitor every aspect of their body motion, limb movement and add accurate eye gaze as well. The possibilities for sports science and medical research are endless, and also what about for CGI and standard motion capture where eye gaze has been “guesstimated” in the past – we can now say with 100% certainty where they were gazing as they ran, walked, tackled and interacted.

The Dikablis has a very open API which can stream data live, so the options don’t end there either – you can integrate the system into your own systems, your own code and your own research. Give us a call on +44 (0) 1189 000795 or email us at sales@acuity-ets.com for more details or to request a demo.

Tobii Glasses – Take 2 Cases To Do Research? Not Us, We Take 1 And Go…. April 15, 2011

Posted by Jon Ward in Advertising, eye tracking, Glasses, Market Research, Shopper Research, Studio, Tips And Tricks, Tobii.
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Ok, so it is a really bad pun and only those who have seen the “Wash ‘n’ Go” adverts will understand it but it gets the message across. Much as we love the innovative and amazing Tobii Glasses having the IR markers and glasses system in two cases is a pain – especially when flying on ‘ahem’ more cost effective airlines… so we searched for an alternative and came up with this hardened ABS case (the same stuff some of the Tobii screen based eye trackers come protected in, and the cases we use for our loan PC’s) and we love it!

The trays fit in nicely on top of each other with the markers on the bottom and the glasses layer on the top. There is room for documents, manuals and mounting accessories in the lid and it has four clip locks, as well as a combination lock and a great shoulder strap! An alternative option we are putting together is for a layer to lock in your laptop and charger so one case rules them all! (Ok, another awful reference but it’s been a long week….)

Plus it looks so much more James Bond! So avoid being nervous about your expensive equipment being damaged as the hardened case means it is much more resilient to knocks and can even be put into hold baggage or trusted with Scott or me!

And instead of being nervous about your expensive equipment being damaged the hardened case means it is more resilient to knocks and can be put into hold baggage meaning! For more details, pricing and availability contact sales@acuity-ets.com or call us on 01189 000795.