This summer was a bit different to me than for the rest of my colleagues at Visual Analytics and Imaging (VAI) Lab Stony Brook University and SUNY Korea, as I spent it in Visualization Research Center of the University of Stuttgart (VISUS) for a short research trip. I got this opportunity through the PhD fellowship program, offered by the Transregional Collaborative Research Center (SFR-TRR) 161. I carried out my research in Stuttgart, with many Ph.D.’s and Post-Doc’s at single place and which was definitely a learning experience for me. The whole experience was very different for me but indeed fruitful.
Nowadays a big vision of the automotive industry is autonomous driving. Since Google’s introduction of autonomously driving cars, car manufacturers, their suppliers, but also IT companies and the scientific community are excited about the upcoming revolution of transportation. The biggest advantages of autonomous driving are a higher driving comfort, and assumed the driving systems work reliably, a better driving safety. But there are many issues that have to be resolved until autonomous driving can be fully realized.
Humans are the end users of visual media. Therefore, in order to develop an effective quantitative assessment of visual computing quality, one must take into account how humans perceive visual quality. For example, in image compression, an adaptive bitrate allocation that favors the image foreground can be expected to increase the visual quality of decoded images.
“Quantifying User-centered Experiences (QUE-2016)” was the title of the the 1st Summer School for Visual Computing at the University of Stuttgart (Germany), organized by the SFB-TRR 161. From 2nd to 6th of July, about 40 PhD students from America, Hungary and Germany met at the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS) and the Visualization Research Center (VISUS) to learn about visual computing and discuss current questions, trends and activities in data analysis, human-computer interaction, visualization or eye tracking. During these five days the young academics could talk about their current research activities, and exchange their know-how and their experience in the academic world.
Knowing where people look at when they investigate visual stimuli such as pictures and video content provides valuable information for multiple application scenarios. The investigation of viewing behavior has become a popular approach that provides a glimpse into the human mind. May it be a person sitting in front of a computer screen or walking in the park, different eye-tracking devices can record where and how long a person spent visual attention for nearly all possible visual stimuli. Depending on the device, up to 2000 gaze positions per second and the visual stimulus can be recorded for an individual person. Typically, many more persons are recorded in a user study, and the goal is to compare this massive amount of data in order to find similarities as well as outliers in the viewing behavior.
Last month I had the pleasure to attend the ETRA 2016 symposium in Charleston, USA. This conference focuses on all aspects of eye movement research across a wide range of disciplines. Computer scientists, engineers and behavioral scientists come together to bring their common vision of moving eye tracking research and its application forward, and expanding its impact. This year many good and interesting talks were held during the conference and now I want to talk about two papers I found particularly interesting.
Maps for public transport as busses, subways or trains are part of our daily live. It is self-evident for most of us to read them and we expect them to be designed in a way that we can plan our journeys easily. But who cares about the usability and the design? And how can we be guaranteed that the map design invokes an accurate action by the passengers? Design experts and visualization researchers are working closely together to produce readable and effective map designs.
As part of IEEE VIS 2015 the SFB-TRR 161 co-organized the first workshop on eye tracking and visualization to bring together researchers from visualization, experimental psychology, and human computer interaction. With over 60 participants the workshop was very well attended and the afternoon meet-up extended the discussions.