The Cloud Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
An experimental lab that explores the design of our environment through emerging technologies in computing, interface and device culture.
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Eye Tracking + Architecture
Using DIY eye-tracking to understand spatial decision making

The Cloud Lab implemented the EyeWriter DIY eye tracking system to question and quantify the relationship between the eyes and the observed world. Using to model and visualize the interaction between the eye tracking hardware and 3D scenes, the goal of this research is to understand the complex interplay between spatial information seeking and spatial processing.

"The vast majority of one’s eye movements (including tracking moving objects and saccades, occurring about three times per second) are made without anything like conscious decision or choice, and mostly in ignorance that one’s eyes are moving at all. Yet when tracked over time, saccadic eye movements reveal themselves to be organized around discernible goals, directed to solve visual disambiguation problems, and sensitive to attentional demands and task complexity."
from Brain Wise: Studies in Neurophilosphy, Patricia Smith Churchland

Research Areas and Projects:
  • Heat mapping of architectural geometry
  • Task motivation in eye movement
  • Realtime design systems and formal elaboration based on realtime eye-tracking data
This research is being carried out as part of the "Brain Hacking" Studio, conducted at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation.

Videos and Media

Eye tracking heat map overlay demo

Eye tracking the Nakagin Capsule Hotel, from GSAPP "Brain Hacking" Studio


Research Subtopics and Resources

Nakagin Capsule Hotel Metabolist Tower Heatmap
3D polygon modeling for heat mapping. Robust models aid in the visualization process as well as provide an infrastructure for populating heat map values.
Eye Writer Glasses Parts and Assembly
Assembly of Eye Writer hardware. Open source hardware allows us to customize the Eye Writer to available materials and project needs.
Heatmapping 3D shapes
Heat mapping 3D Shapes. The integration of computer vision to detect eye movement and 3D visualization takes place in Processing, an open source software development framework.
Project Researchers Research conducted at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation.
Alfred Yarbus Eye movements during perception of complex objects
"Eye movements during perception of complex objects" from Eye Movements and Vision, Alfred Yarbus (1967)

The Cloud Lab is directed by Toru Hasegawa and Mark Collins
The lab resides at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning & Preservation, Columbia University
400 Avery Hall 1172 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10027
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Copyright 2014