One of the first things to do with a new grant is to buy equipment, yea! That means a bit of research on the available products, even if you’re looking for something as seemingly specialized as eye trackers. So this is the story of that process as we try to decide what to buy.
I got a head start when I was provided with a whole list of files compiled in Evernote. That meant I had to get up to speed on how to use Evernote, but that’s part of this process – learning to use new tools for collaboration as we go. Speaking of, before we got too far into the process I made sure to set up a Dropbox folder for online folder storage and sharing, and a Google Docs spreadsheet to track the information I got from each manufacturer.
The spreadsheet is pretty bare to start, just company, cost, and an “other features” category, but here again, I got a bit of direction for things to take off. We made a connection with a professor at the University of Oregon who’s been studying these systems and even designing some cool uses with them – creating drawings and computerized music simply with the eyes. I digress, but Dr. Hornof has done some background work compiling documentation on a couple of the commercial systems. He gave us a couple of clues as to specs for commercial systems: they’re often limited by the size of the virtual “head box” and that the software with the systems might be limited in capability – so two more categories for the spreadsheet! Dr. Hornof has also invited us down to his lab at the U of O, so we’ll head down in a couple of weeks and check that out.