Developing ViRETS – A Virtual Reality Eye-Tracking System

We would like to invite you to the next research seminar of the Creative Technology Research Centre that will be delivered by Chris Ramsey.


Title: Developing ViRETS – A Virtual Reality Eye-Tracking System

Time: 2:00PM-3:00PM

Date: Wednesday 3rd December 2014

Room: P335, Poole House, Talbot Campus



This research project aims to develop a Virtual Reality Eye-Tracking System (VIRETS), capable of displaying naturalistic viewing conditions with high ecological validity and large field of view (FOV) in order to investigate the effects on human gaze behaviour (including head movement) and how this could be advantageous when looking at methods for visual cognition experiments. Static, lab-based eye trackers (head-mounted or desk-mounted) are accurate and easy to calibrate. However, they have traditionally made use of single screen setups with a FOV which doesn’t provide realistic viewing conditions. Furthermore, the head of a participant often has to be restricted using a chin rest and/or bite bar, or, in the case of head-mounted eye-trackers, restricted to small movements, which prohibits naturalistic head movements.

While mobile eye-trackers bring eye-tracking research to real world scenarios, allowing for naturalistic head and eye movements and allowing for naturalistic viewing conditions, the method presents a number of limitations, such as lower frequencies and the possibility of dropped frames. Although video footage can be layered with gaze behaviour to show saccadic eye-movement in real scenes, data analysis has to be carried out offline and can be time consuming: Specifically, video footage must be inspected frame by frame, labelled and described in order to analyse what objects in the scene participants attend to. Furthermore using real-world scenarios make it difficult to control all the stimuli presented, making the interpretation of cause and effect relationships difficult.

ViRETS aims to address these concerns by combining realistic and immersive VR, head-mounted eye-tracking, motion tracking and the freedom of naturalistic head movement. By these means we’ll investigate how an increased FOV affects gaze behaviour, head movements and performance specifically in the context of visual search and navigation.       

We hope to see you there.