eyetracking experiment

This is one of a series of experiments conducted at unidcom iade with the assistance of vítor simões. the eye-tracking machine is very hard to calibrate and the results are somewhat puzzling. the first part of the drawing was made by memory representing the view from the window. then I started to draw what was on the screen and even vítor’s profile inside the screen. note that it seems that my eyes look as if were focused a little bit up from the place where the pen is moving. We attributed this to the fact that, probably, I’m looking to a broader area in order to relate what I’m doing to what I have already done but what is more probable is the fact that the machine was calibrated for a virtual surface between the screen and the paper. the intersection of that surface with the lines of visual cone would give higher points in the paper and lower points  in the observed thing (the screen). As shown in the scheme up.

By eduardocortereal

eduardo corte-real is the author of "The Smooth Blog to Travel Drawing". He teaches Drawing at IADE - Universidade Europeia, Lisbon

6 replies on “eyetracking experiment”

Fascinating experiment.
Do you mind telling a little bit more about the device and its uses?
Thak you.

Well Filipe, an eye-tracker is an eye-tracker. It consists of a laser beam that follows your eye movements. This is all done in a pair of glasses. In the same glasses you have a small camera. The information passes to a little machine that processes the information. In real time you can see in the computer a little film and the registration of the position of your eye pupil. The machine also generates an Excel file with the position of the eye every 1/100 of a second. Well the machine as been used in research projects at unidcom/iade that are still being worked out. Its utility seems quite obvious in a visual arts, design and communication research centre.

Thak you for the explanation.
I didn’t mean to question the utility of the device, just the possible uses of it.
Of course the eye-tracker is a precious instrument for the study of drawing as a process; it’s surely helpful in the understanding of the mechanisms of visual perception, apreension and registration. Yet will this fact alter the way in wich observation and drawing are thaught?
Thanks, and pardon my rusty english.

you wrote:
“Yet will this fact alter the way in wich observation and drawing are thaught?”

We certainly hope so. For now we have some confirmation about some hints and self observation data. Seeing thins being done is also a very good help.

Notice that when I move from memory to observation most of the lines are made looking at the model. That is something you teach but the student never confirms that you are effectivelly doing so.

Thanks for your interest

Always great to have a little view of what you’re up to Eduardo – this is fascinating stuff! It would be interesting to find out what bits of the brain are registering what you see when you draw from memory, and when you draw from life – to see if there’s a difference – although I would assume that’s already been found out!

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for your comment. I was just talking with vítor about what you asked and he was telling me that relating eye tracking and brain activity is the actual frontier of knowledge. The devices are so complex and precise that I think the results are a bit fishy.
I really don’t care with the precise point where I’m looking at (also because my left eye is not being tracked. Some new devices also track both eyes). As I said to Filipe, showing something like this to students and colleagues is already very good.
I promise to set better conditions next time and increase the quality of the film.

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