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View Catcher: SMI iView X RED

Allied Vision

SMI’s iView X RED System measures how humans perceive objects, and what attracts our gaze, with extreme accuracy.

SMI’s iView X RED System measures how humans perceive objects, and what attracts our gaze, with extreme accuracy.“The eyes are the window to the soul“, folk wisdom tells us. Science and economics know it, too, and both fields have exhibited a keen interest in determining how humans perceive their surroundings, what attracts our gaze, and what we tend to overlook. Be it research on behavior patterns, psychology, pedagogical evaluation of learning materials, ergonomics of software and web sites or analysis of the effects of advertising – the scientific evaluation of human eye movement across a particular image has a number of possible applications. The field of marketing in particular invests a great deal in this area: how should a display window be arranged to draw passing customers’ notice? What should product packaging look like to stand out from the competition on a crowded supermarket shelf? How can a print or broadcast advertisement be structured to best get its call to action across? Advertisers and agencies are extremely eager for well-founded answers to these tricky questions.

iView X RED from SMI Maps Eye Gaze Movement 
SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI), located in Teltow, Germany, is a leading developer and marketer worldwide of high-tech solutions for measuring eye movement and evaluating the course of that movement, also known as eye tracking. With its iView X RED, SMI has developed an innovative, portable system that can precisely track and analyze the course of a test subject’s gaze upon a particular motif, such as an advertisement. 

The device itself comes in the form of a compact sensor unit flexible enough to be installed to work in a stand for printed matter (such as a newspaper or magazine), a screen, or even a projector. The test subject then sits in front of the device, about 50 to 70 cm (about 20 to 25 inches) away, and views the test image. The test subject is free to move in his or her seat and wears no apparatus on the head or eyes, thus ensuring comfort, freedom from disruption, and the ability to completely commit to the experiment. The system is even able to work with subjects who wear glasses or contact lenses.

The sensor unit, with its integrated digital camera, is connected to a PC whose imaging software then analyzses the captured data in real time: the test subject’s head, eyes and pupils are automatically recognized and even the smallest eye movements are tracked in relation to the test image. A mapping of the gaze’s path across the image is then generated: what first attracts the viewer’s gaze? How long does the test subject stare at a particular element — text or a prominent motif? In which order are the various elements of the image “read”, so to speak? The iView X RED measures all of this precisely and provides a graphic representation on the image being evaluated. 

Customized Camera Solution from Allied Vision Technologies
A digital camera from Allied Vision Technologies is built into the sensor unit. This particular camera was developed especially to meet SMI’s needs, offering a high enough resolution to enable precise pupil locating across an entire image of a face.

Additionally, a high image rate is crucial for the measurement exactitude, registering and recording each and every eye movement down to the smallest degree. Thanks to its rapid IEEE 1394b FireWire interface and the image reduction to the AOI of the eye region, the camera captures the images at a rate of 50 frames per second.

“Thanks to Allied Vision Technologies’ customized solution, we have found the ideal camera for this ambitious application”, exclaimed Dr. Christian Lappe, Sales & Marketing Manager of Eye and Gaze Tracking Systems at SMI. “This camera meets not only the basic conditions for eye tracking in terms of resolution and frame rate, but the built-in functions for image optimization facilitate evaluation by the system as well, even without any apparatus on the test subject’s head and under variable ambient light conditions”.

The so-called “smart features” of AVT’s digital camera optimize image quality even within the camera before the data is transmitted to the computer. Capitalizing on these functions, such as Look-up Tables, Shading Correction, Anti-Smear and Binning, ensures a sharp, optimized image for evaluation. This contributes significantly to the flexibility and user friendliness of the iView X RED System, which in contrast to many other eye tracking solutions can also be used outside the laboratory and its standardized lighting, with no head or eye gear required for the test subject. The software can be installed on a conventional laptop so that the system can also be mobile for field test use. 

New Application Sector for Digital Imaging
iView X RED has already been used internationally in a number of applications – from marketing research institutes to website and advertising optimization as well as in university psychology research labs. Beyond pure eye movement evaluation for research purposes, the information it establishes can also be used for the active operation of computers or machines — helping disabled individuals to interact with the world using their eye movements, for example. The Eye Tracking System from SMI, together with AVT camera technology, proves how digital imaging can move beyond the fields of industrial automation, research, science, medicine or marketing to even more spectacular advances.

About Allied Vision Technologies
Founded in 1989, Allied Vision Technologies GmbH of Germany is a 100% subsidiary of the public Augusta Technologie AG. AVT designs, produces and sells cameras and components for image processing in industrial and life science applications. With innovative products, superior manufacturing quality and a service-driven organization, Allied Vision Technologies is well established as a premier provider of digital camera solutions for machine vision worldwide. Allied Vision Technologies holds 100% of Allied Vision Technologies Inc. (Newburyport, USA) and Prosilica Inc. (Vancouver, Canada).

Media Relations:
Jean-Philippe Roman
Allied Vision Technologies
Klaus-Groth-Str. 1
22926 Ahrensburg
Tel.: +49 4102/6688-196
Fax: +49 4102/6688-10

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