Pioneering training solutions through research and immersive technology

Eye Tracking

Eye Tracking Cognitive Behavioural Training

Through the use of cutting edge eye tracking technology and our leading evidenced based academic research and ML practices – we offer an eye tracking service that measure indicators of a person’s concentration and focus of attention, which provides some insight into their state of mind, emotion and cognition. Application of this technology, combined with our methodology and analysis, can be used in a range of high risk environments to better train preferred cognitive and physical behaviours in dangerous scenarios.

Eye tracking services and consultancy

Eye tracking technology, which enables us to record the eye movements and gaze behaviour of a subject, has many applications in the world of performance and training.

Understanding expertise: Eye tracking technology gives us unprecedented insight into the psychology and decision making of expert performers. These insights can help us to better understand task expertise, and therefore derive better ways of training novices to develop this expertise.

Training: Providing trainers and trainees with feedback throughout the learning process can be extremely valuable, and allows for the development of tailored and bespoke training interventions. Eye tracking allow us to unearth the development of perceptual and cognitive skills, and tailor training to enhance learning. The gaze behaviour of experts can also be used to enhance training through methodologies such as Feed Forward Eye Movement Training (FFEMT). FFEMT provides trainees with access to the gaze behaviours of experts performing the same task, and as such additional information about how to perform the task efficiently and effectively.

Validating VR simulations: Eye tracking can be used as a tool to assess the usability, ergonomics and fidelity of a VR simulation. How a trainee experiences a simulation visually provides great in-sight into the simulations validity as a learning tool. We have eye tracking technology that allows us to track eye movements and gaze behaviour in our virtual environments, enabling us to optimise the design and functionality of these environments.

We recently deployed our eye tracking technology on a project we carried out for Concawe. You can read more here.

Did you know our eye tracking systems have just been used to train Air Traffic Controllers? Read more here.

The science behind our leading eye tracking technology

All of our eye tracking services are underpinned by up-to-date findings from psychology, neuroscience, and human performance research. When studied closely, gaze behaviours can indicate what we are thinking, what information we are processing, and what physical and/or emotional states our bodies are in. We use some key eye tracking metrics to support our human factors training in a number of innovative, data-driven ways:

1. To assess an individual’s expertise.

Eye-tracking can show us how effective, efficient, and safe a person is when undertaking an operation or skill by revealing where they direct their eyes at key moments. This is critical for many industries – just because someone can complete a task does not mean that they are performing it optimally or that they will do it consistently under stressful conditions.

2. To assess an individual’s psychological state

We also integrate fundamental principles of psychology and neuroscience research to assess an individual’s cognitive and behavioural states. We can detect these responses by analysing the spread, randomness, duration, error, or latency of particular eye movements during a task (find out more about our metrics here).

3. To train a skill or competency

Led by Dr Sam Vine, our team develop bespoke learning tools which not only focus on the overall performance of a skill, but also the perceptual and cognitive underpinnings of operations. This can be done through a method known as Feed Forward Eye Movement Training (FFEMT), in which trainees observe the gaze strategies used by experts before performing the same task.

4. To augment immersive training

When combined with immersive technology, eye tracking allows us to tailor user experience and optimise learning in VR. We are currently exploring how eye tracking can be used to personalise immersive experiences in real-time. For example, see our recent work with Air Traffic Controllers.

5. To validate virtual simulations

We can test levels of construct validity – this is how accurate a simulation is at replicating a real-world task. If a VR task is high in construct validity, we should expect to see experts perform it better that novices. Eye tracking allows us to study this in more detail, since we can look at experts’ attention.

Read full science text

The SCIENCE behind our eye tracking work…

All of our eye tracking services are underpinned by up-to-date findings from psychology, neuroscience, and human performance research. When studied closely, gaze behaviours can indicate what we are thinking, what information we are processing, and what physical and/or emotional states our bodies are in. We use some key eye tracking metrics to support our human factors training in a number of innovative, data-driven ways:

 

1. To assess an individual’s expertise.

Eye-tracking can show us how effective, efficient, and safe a person is when undertaking an operation or skill by revealing where they direct their eyes at key moments. This is critical for many industries – just because someone can complete a task does not mean that they are performing it optimally or that they will do it consistently under stressful conditions. Our specialists in the University of Exeter Human Movement Science research group use established gaze metrics to provide objective and precise assessments of task expertise. Many of these methods come from elite sport science, a field where successful performance can depend on the smallest of margins.

2. To assess an individual’s psychological state

We also integrate fundamental principles of psychology and neuroscience research to assess an individual’s cognitive and behavioural states. The eyes are sometimes referred to as the ‘windows to the mind’ and are influenced by emotions and arousal in the brain, making them extremely sensitive to states like stress, boredom, and cognitive biases. These factors can result in tunnel vision, increased distractibility, poor anticipation, and a failure to pick up key goal-relevant sensory information: effects which can undermine both performance in the field and the effectiveness of training. We can detect these responses by analysing the spread, randomness, duration, error, or latency of particular eye movements during a task (find out more about our metrics here).

Additionally, by using eye tracking to understand what information a performer is processing and when this processing occurs, we can assess a number of specialist performance competencies (e.g., situational awareness, decision-making, and workload management). This is done through building customised data scripts that analyse visual scan paths in real-time. These algorithms are placed in carefully designed simulation and training exercises, which focus on targeted training skills.

An example of this is our TACET project, where we apply automated software to assess pilot’s workload management and decision-making skills in key aviation scenarios:

3. To train a skill or competency

Research shows that various different types of training can be enhanced through the use of eye tracking methods. These include sport, non-invasive surgery, and the military. At Cineon, we have enlisted the help of leading experts from this field to provide evidence-based eye tracking training. Led by Dr Sam Vine, our team develop bespoke learning tools which not only focus on the overall performance of a skill, but also the perceptual and cognitive underpinnings of operations.

To do this, our first step is to establish what constitutes ‘optimal’ performance. We must study the gaze and psychology of experts, who are adept at directing their attention to only the most efficient and useful informational cues. Then, we provide trainees with precise instructions and video footage that helps them work towards these ‘optimal’ behaviours. This can be done through a method known as Feed Forward Eye Movement Training (FFEMT), in which trainees observe the gaze strategies used by experts before performing the same task. FFEMT has been shown to accelerate the learning process. We recently employed FFEMT :

 4. To augment immersive training

When combined with immersive technology, eye tracking allows us to tailor user experience and optimise learning in VR. We are currently exploring how eye tracking can be used to personalise immersive experiences in real-time. Specifically, through data-driven monitoring of gaze responses, we aim to develop simulations that adapt virtual environments according to a person’s ongoing psychology, physiology, and cognitive state (see above). Research in medicine and sport suggests that this can maximise training efficiency and reduce the need for human supervision.

The use of eye tracking can also benefit collaborative training exercises. Here, real-time gaze information can be inputted into virtual environments to make team activities develop more naturally. By giving cues about where someone is looking, research suggests that you can enhance social interactions, improve feelings of presence, and help collaboration in shared workspaces.  For example, see our recent work with Air Traffic Controllers:

5. To validate virtual simulations

We use eye tracking to examine how authentic our virtual environments really are. This is done by focusing on a couple of key factors.

First, we can test levels of construct validity – this is how accurate a simulation is at replicating a real-world task. If a VR task is high in construct validity, we should expect to see experts perform it better that novices. Eye tracking allows us to study this in more detail, since we can look at experts’ attention and psychological responses (see sections above).

We also compare eye tracking metrics in simulations with those shown in the real-world, to see if people are immersed and focused in our virtual environments. By looking at an individual’s visual fixation patterns in VR, we can examine whether they are processing information in a similar way to when they usually perform the skill. This allows us to assess levels of psychological fidelity – i.e., the degree to which our simulation creates realistic cognitive and perceptual responses. Evidence suggests that psychological fidelity could be a key factor that influences the effectiveness of VR training, and eye tracking gives us detailed insight into this decisive variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have recently developed a new air crew competency training tool that will improve air safety with inbuilt eye tracking technology. Read more here.

The metrics behind our leading eye tracking technology

Eye Tracking Metrics

When studying eye tracking data, there are some key characteristics that we look at:

Fixations these are periods of time where gaze remains steady and focused on a particular cue. When this happens, visual information can be extracted from the world. So, by looking at where fixations occur, and how long they last, we can understand what information a person is processing during a task. How we do this though, can depend on the situation or analysis.

 

Saccades– these are sudden eye movements, where gaze is re-directed to a new location in a scene. Though limited visual information is processed during these gaze shifts, their timing and magnitude can tell us a lot about a person’s scanning behaviours. Additionally, saccades are often aimed towards locations that are goal-relevant or potentially informative. So by looking at their endpoint position, we can understand what someone is predicting or reacting to in a task.

Pursuit- this is when someone continuously tracks something with their gaze (e.g., an object or feature in their field of view). In some tasks, smooth pursuit behaviours are tightly linked to skilled performance. For instance, it is essential that a tennis player tracks the ball before making a shot, and it is often crucial that military personnel keep focus on fast-moving targets in the field. In these sort of tasks, we are interested in when pursuit occurs, and the accuracy or error associated with someone’s tracking behaviour.

Entropythis is the predictability or randomness of gaze scanning behaviours. In many tasks, experts use coherent, well-controlled eye movements that are low in entropy. Conversely, high levels of entropy can indicate irregular and erratic gaze shifts that are not necessarily goal-focused. We look at how these profiles vary between tasks and individuals, particularly under high-pressure situations (where attention can sometimes be disrupted).

Visuomotor Integrationsometimes we cannot simply look at gaze data by itself. Instead, we must examine eye movements in relation to other limbs and/or bodily motion. Take driving, for example- here, eye movements towards future navigation routes must be coordinated with hand movements on the steering wheel and pedal changes from your feet. Our sophisticated analysis techniques can allow us to study how closely your gaze is connected to other limb movements, and whether your eyes are ‘proactive’ or ‘reactive’ in motor skills. This ensures that we can study both the effectiveness and efficiency of visuomotor control.

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