Or at least across the globe, for now. One of the major goals of this project is building a platform that is mobile, both around the science center and beyond. So as I travel this holiday season, I’ll be testing some of these tools on the road, as we prepare for visiting scholars. We want the scholars to be able to come to work for about a month and set the system up as they like for capturing the interactions that provide the data they’re interested in. Then we want them to have the ability to log in to the system from their home institutions, continuing to collect and analyze data from home. The first step in testing that lies with those of us who are living in Corvallis and commuting to the center in Newport only a couple times a week.
To that end, we’re starting with a couple more PC laptops, one for the eye-tracker analysis software, and one more devoted to the higher-processing needs of the surveillance system. The video analysis from afar is mostly a matter of getting the servers set up on our end, as the client software is free to install on an unlimited number of machines. But, as I described in earlier posts (here and here), we’ve been re-arranging cameras, installing more servers (we’re now up to one master and two slaves, with the one master dedicated to serving the clients, and each slave handling about half the cameras), and trying to test out the data-grabbing abilities from afar. Our partner in New Zealand had us extend the data recording time after the motion sensors decide there’s nothing going on in order to try and fix frame drop problems during the export. We’re also installing a honking lot more ethernet capability in the next week or so to hopefully handle our bandwidth better. I’ll be testing the video export on the road myself this week.
Then there’s the eye-tracker. It’s a different case, as it has proprietary data analysis software that has a per-user license. We have two, so that I can analyze my thesis data separately from any data collection that may now take place at the center, such as what I’m testing for an upcoming conference presentation on eye-tracking in museums. It’s not really that the eye-tracker itself is heavy, but with the laptop and all the associated cords, it gets cumbersome to go back and forth all the time, and I’d rather not have the responsibility of moving that $30K equipment any more than I have to (I don’t think it’s covered under my renter’s insurance for the nights it would be stored there in between campuses). So I’ve been working on setting up the software on the other new analysis laptop. Now I’m running into license issues, though I think otherwise the actual data transfer from one system to another is ok (except my files are pretty big – 2GB of data – just enough that it’s been a manual, rather than web-based, transfer so far).
And with that, I’m off to start that “eye-tracking … across the universe” (with apologies to the writers of the original Star Trek parody).