Eye-based Context-awareness

The Perceptual User Interfaces Group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, headed by Dr. Andreas Bulling, invites applications for a fully funded PhD studentship on eye-based context-awareness.

Context-awareness has emerged as a key area of research in ubiquitous computing and human-computer interaction (HCI). A promising new source of context information is in the movements of the eyes. The movement patterns our eyes perform as we carry out different activities reveal a lot about the activities themselves and the underlying cognitive processes. In a similar manner, location or a particular environment may influence our eye movements. Because we use our eyes in almost everything that we do, eye movement analysis has the potential to provide useful information for a variety of context recognition problems.

The proposed PhD project will develop and study pattern recognition methods and machine learning techniques for context inference based on eye movement analysis. Potential applications are in activity and health monitoring, location-awareness, assisted living, and cognition-aware user interfaces. The research will be experimental, using portable eye tracking equipment and wearable sensor systems, and will involve user studies and data collection in daily life settings. In addition to experimental skills, the work will require to develop a thorough understanding of pattern recognition, machine learning and statistical signal processing techniques suitable for inferring various aspects of context from eye movements.

The research directions of particular interest include but are not limited to:

  • Pattern recognition methods and eye movement features for modelling of visual behaviour
  • Machine learning techniques for context inference from eye movements
  • Context inference from simultaneous monitoring of eye and body movements in daily life settings

The Max Planck Institute for Informatics offers a highly collegiate and stimulating environment for doctoral research training. The successful candidate will join a young and ambitious research group that is at the forefront of this emerging research area. The candidate will be expected to contribute to the strong profile of the group by participating in the preparation and publication of research results at the level of international excellence.

We invite applications from enthusiastic individuals, who are able to work independently and have an excellent first degree in Computer Science or a related field relevant to the proposed research, and very good knowledge of machine learning, pattern recognition, or statistical signal processing. The studentship is not restricted by nationality. Interested applicants are advised to consult previous work on eye-based recognition of activities and cognitive processes [1,2,3]. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to initiate contact with Dr. Andreas Bulling prior to their application.

Applicants should submit their CV, a copy of school and university degree and course transcripts with grades (Abitur, Vor- and Hauptdiplom for German applicants), names and contact information of two references, a description of research interests and a short research proposal. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications should be emailed to Review of applications will start on 1st March 2013. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

[1] A. Bulling, J. Ward, H. Gellersen (2012) Multimodal Recognition of Reading Activity in Transit Using Body-Worn Sensors
ACM Transactions on Applied Perception, 9(1):2:1-2:21

[2] A. Bulling, J. Ward, H. Gellersen, G. Tröster (2011) Eye Movement Analysis for Activity Recognition Using Electrooculography
IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 33(4):741-753

[3] A. Bulling and D. Roggen (2011) Recognition of Visual Memory Recall Processes Using Eye Movement Analysis
Proc. UbiComp 2011: pages 455-464