Pervasive Eye-based Human-Computer Interfaces

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 pervasive eye-based human-computer interfaces.

Existing work on eye-based human-computer interaction mainly developed use of the eyes in stationary (“desktop”) settings that involved single user, single device and WIMP-style interactions. Pervasive eye tracking – continuous eye tracking and analysis 24/7 – promises a paradigm shift in how the eyes are used as an input modality and points the way towards a new class of pervasive eye-based human-computer interfaces. Pervasive eye-based human-computer interfaces aim to analyse and exploit the information contained in visual behaviour in all explicit and implicit interactions that people perform with computing systems throughout the day.

The proposed PhD project will develop and study interaction techniques and models for pervasive eye-based human-computer interaction. Potential applications are in multimodal and attentive user interfaces, mobile virtual reality systems, information visualisation and automotive interfaces. The research will be experimental, using stationary and portable eye tracking equipment and wearable sensor systems, and will involve controlled user studies and data collection in daily life settings. In addition to experimental skills, the work will require to develop a thorough understanding of cognitive and physical ergonomics, the design and implementation of prototype interactive systems, as well as statistical data analysis techniques suitable for evaluating and characterising human-computer interfaces.

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

  • Interaction techniques and models for pervasive eye-based single and multi-user human-computer interaction
  • Real-time user interfaces that rely on multiple input modalities, such as gaze, body movements or speech
  • Pervasive eye-based interaction for security and privacy, information visualisation, and mobile virtual reality

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 human-computer interaction or media informatics. The studentship is not restricted by nationality. Interested applicants are advised to consult previous work on pervasive eye-based human-computer interaction [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] Y. Zhang, A. Bulling, H. Gellersen (2013) SideWays: A Gaze Interface for Spontaneous Interaction with Situated Displays
Proc. CHI 2013, to appear.

[2] J. Turner, A. Bulling, H. Gellersen (2012) Extending the Visual Field of a Head-Mounted Eye Tracker for Pervasive Eye-Based Interaction
Proc. ETRA 2012: pages 269-272.

[3] A. Bulling, H. Gellersen (2010) Toward Mobile Eye-Based Human-Computer Interaction
IEEE Pervasive Computing, 9(4):8-12.