Millions of Moments: Participatory research on eye movements at the Gießener Mathematikum

Joint research project of JLU Giessen and Mathematikum aims to collect the largest data set in the world in order to understand human eye movements

Marcel Linka proudly points to the wooden cabin, the interior of which he has programmed and which is now located on the first floor of the Gießener Mathematikum. Anyone who dares to enter is sitting in front of a screen on which explanatory videos and pictures are shown. The individual eye movements are tracked by a special camera. Those who participate will be able to compare their moments with those of others.

Marcel Linka is a visual researcher from the group of Benjamin de Haas at the Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen (JLU) and wants to collect the world’s largest data set on eye movements with the help of mathematics. Normally, a few dozen volunteers are invited for such studies, who then come to the lab at JLU. The new exhibit or research project was officially opened on Monday.

The retina can only clearly resolve a very small area. Therefore, vision is dependent on erratic eye movements. The eye movements per second follow in different ways. For his doctoral thesis, Marcel Linka developed a five-minute test to measure such eye movements. Participants only look at a few pictures of everyday scenes. With the exhibit it is possible to make the individual eye movement visible.

Marcel Linka and Benjamin de Haas want to attract at least 10,000 participants for the experiment and thus measure “million moments”. Dr. de Haas, Marcel Linka’s supervisor, is convinced that all participants will be able to gain a very special insight into their own perception. It is a great pleasure that the Mathematics Institute supported the idea from the start and that the European Research Council is funding it.

More information in the JLU press release. Other media reports by SAT1, Gießener Allgemeine, Oberhessische Presse, ntv, Die Zeit and RTL.