Text by: Vera Rick, M.A. – Research Associate – RWTH Aachen University

We have already reported here on the potential of eye tracking and, in particular, pupil size. Our eyes can tell us a lot about our mental state and especially the pupil diameter has been shown to provide insight to a person’s experienced cognitive and emotional strain. In the WorkingAge project, we will perform real-time evaluation and assessment of mental strain based on pupil dilation to help users work in a healthy way for the long term.

After our successful studies with the eye tracker in the laboratory, the next step was to test how the eye tracker works in a real work environment. For this purpose, we conducted long-term measurements and followed workers throughout their working day to see how the eye tracker affects work and to what extent the measurements are influenced by the unstandardized environment of a real working place.

Figure 1: Eye-tracking measurements

Furthermore, of course, it is not only interesting how the eye tracker works in everyday working life, but also whether the users want to use the eye tracker at all. As we have previously reported (e.g. here), we conducted a questionnaire-based survey to find out what people think about measuring and evaluating individual mental and physical stress and strain. We were very pleased to hear that there was little concern about using the eye tracker at work.

Figure 2: User concerns

As seen in Figure 2, most users indicated that they had no concerns with the implementation of the eye tracker. The next biggest user concern were data privacy and surveillance. This is, of course, an important point for the entire WAOW Tool, but one that we have been working on very hard since the beginning of the project. We have designed the WAOW Tool with a particular focus on ensuring privacy, through strict compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), such as data anonymization and limiting data accessibility finding, in order to create a balance between obtaining the intended benefits and preventing opportunities for abuse. We are therefore delighted to be able to integrate the eye tracker as an innovative and usable sensor into the WAOW Tool to aid in creating a healthy working environment.

On another note, with the year coming to an end, we would like to thank all participants that contributed and ultimately helped in the creation of the WAOW Tool. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Image Source – title: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/augen-wimpern-brauen-nahaufnahme-6215796/
Image source – eye tracker: https://imotions.com/hardware/pupil-labs-glasses/
Image Source – other picture: Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics – RWTH Aachen University