I was on time to the morning meeting today yayy! Actually I was 5 minutes early. When we went down to the lab Karen told us that we were going to be designing our own little mini experiment! Liz brainstormed a bunch of ideas ranging from the word search (which we ended up doing) to birdwatching! Designing and executing an experiment wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be. We had to take into account many factors that I took for granted as just normal behavior. For example, when calibrating I thought that people would know to move just their eyes rather than move their head along with their eyes. By moving their head along with their eyes it made finding good points difficult. However, most people including the two of us move our heads subconsciously with our eyes. Ok well before we could even begin the actual execution of the experiment we had to sit down and design what exactly we wanted to do. We contemplated having the lab rat hold the word search at an angle and then complete it, but by doing that we weren't getting a good corneal reflection. Then we tried placing the word search on the table and that also didn't work for the same reason. The last possible solution was taping the word search to the wall and having the lab rat stand up and do it. This solution worked best because we could see both the pupil and the corneal reflection.
When we uploaded the scene video and eye video to Yarbus for the first time, Liz and I immediately noticed that the calibration target was placed too low and therefore the video wasn't displaying all the calibration points on the target. We did manage to pin point 7 calibration points for my video and 4 calibration points for Liz! However, we did only have 13 points on the target...! The second time we executed the experiment things went much better! We changed 4 things. The first thing we changed was the size of the word search. We enlarged it so that the letters were easier to see on the scene video. Second, we created a calibration target with 25 points instead of 13. Then we decided that it would be clever if we numbered the points on the target and say them out loud as the lab rat fixates on it. When I uploaded my scene video to Yarbus, everything was much better. I could see the pupil, corneal reflection, and everything in the scene. I ended up setting 23 of the 25 calibration points and they were evenly spread out resulting in reliable crosshairs.
At 10am Liz and I went to our very first Ph.D defense! The person defending his research is named Grigorios Tsagatakis! That's about all we comprehended from the defense haha :) After sitting through the defense Liz and I decided to reward ourselves with a rice krispy treat and some Reeses peanut butter cups! For lunch all the interns went down to global village, rearranged 3 of the tables and pulled up some chairs to have bonding time! I ate a Dibella's sub (only a quarter of a foot though) and granola bar for lunch. I'm sure you all were dying to know exactly what I ate ;)