Eyes on the Street and Cameras in Your Eyes

Designers and planners have long sought ways to better understand how humans experience the built urban environment. In this project we combine quantitative data from wearable eye-tracking glasses with qualitative data from interviews and observational studies to explore how this combination can provide new insights into how humans experience urban space.

In an upcoming paper we detail the way the experiments were carried out in real-world urban environments, how we collected, processed and analyzed the resulting data and what we found out about what catches people’s attention and how we can use mobile eye-tracking together with other research methods to support processes that shape our built environment.


Kristian Kloeckl, Houjiang Liu

Mobile Eye-Tracking Equipment

Student wearing a pair of Tobii mobile eye-tracking glasses during a data collection session. While fixed lab-based eye-tracking has been around for many years in the form of a camera bar positioned under a screen, today’s mobile eye-tracking devices have reached a form factor that is small and discrete enough to allow for data collection without being overly aware of wearing a connected device rather than a piece of eyewear.

Points of Attention Trace

Overlaying the pupil orientation, calculated from the inward facing cameras on the eyewear, with video footage from the outward facing camera provides a visualization of points of attention and the steps from one such point to the next as a participants spends time with the mobile eye-tracking wearable and moving through space.

Time-Coded Object-of-Interest Chart

The chart on the right encodes object categories that participants paid attention to by color and stacks these along a time-encoded horizontal bar chart for each of six participants. These bar charts reveal how different individual experiences are even when following the same route in the pursuit of responding to the same given task. The photos on the left and right help contextualize the environment where this data was collected.