From Michael Raschke
This year we are supporting the ACM Symposium of Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA) again as a sponsor. I thought this would be a good moment to explain a bit our relation ship to science and what we learned from our journey from “science to business”.
Blickshift is a child of science. The core method which we implemented in our software is visual analytics for eye tracking, a new method for analyzing complex and large data sets of eye movements.
Especially, the ETRA conferences played an important role during the development of our idea, business and products. After we have presented a short paper about a visualization technique for eye tracking data at ETRA 2012 in Santa Barbara, we had a successful follow-up publication at ETRA 2014 in Safety Harbor. Where in 2012 I was the single representant of our institute at ETRA, in 2014 we were five colleagues from Stuttgart and were very happy to present three full papers. In 2016, we published the methods at ETRA in Charleston, which we later finally realized in our software. In parallel, I had the chance to co-organize a series of tutorials about eye tracking visualization together with my former colleagues from the institute.
ETRA 2012 in Santa Barbara: They said typically they have better weather in March.
ETRA 2014: In Florida we had perfect weather!
But not only ETRA is a wonderful place to share ideas with scientists and industry researchers from all the world. For example, at the Dagstuhl seminar “Ubiquitous Gaze Sensing and Interaction” in 2018, I have learned that privacy and especially the so called ethical, legal and social implications will play a fundamental role for the success of eye tracking technology in the future. For me, in 2018 our discussions at Dagstuhl felt a bit like talking about the “Dawn of a new technology”. The ideas brought me to co-organizing a first panel about privacy in eye tracking at ETRA 2019. In 2021 I have been co-organizer of the first International Workshop on Privacy and Ethics in Eye Tracking at ETRA, which we will continued at this year’s ETRA.
ETRA 2014: Summer time in March.
ETRA 2016: Presentation of our Visual Analytics concept.
Over the last ten years it became clear to me, that both a young company and the scientific community can benefit a lot from each other. For a deep tech company like us, it is fundamentally important to stay up to date with the newest methods and solutions developed in science to deliver best in class solutions to our customers. Our mission was from the beginning and still is to transfer cutting edge results from research into commercial products. We want to make it possible for every eye tracking researcher to analyze their eye tracking experiments with modern and powerful methods to gain deepest insights and a best understanding about human visual perception.
“We want to make it possible for every eye tracking researcher to analyze their eye tracking experiments with modern and powerful methods to gain deepest insights and a best understanding about human visual perception.”
The implementation of such tools takes a lot of time and most times scientists cannot invest this large amount of time for software development. So, scientists benefit from our expertise in implementing excellent software solutions. Primarily, we do not write papers, we invest time to implement great tools, enabling scientists and eye tracking researchers to continue their analysis on a new level. Another important aspect for us is to work together with the scientific community in educating scientists in eye tracking. So, for example, we organize intern ships in our company for scholars and students, and we co-supervise bachelor and master theses with colleagues at Universities and Applied Universities.
Now, it is time again for ETRA and we are very happy to support this great, supportive and nice community! I am looking forward to meet friends, have great discussions and learn from the best people in eye tracking research.