Monday, July 14, 2008


I am proud to announce a very exciting new project I am involved in, ECHOES II: Improving Children's Social Interaction through Exploratory Learning in a Multimodal Environment.

The intention of the ECHOES project is to develop a safe, motivating, and inclusive multimodal learning environment allowing Aspergers and Typically Developing children to explore different social situations to improve their social interaction and communication skills. ECHOES II will provide a unique opportunity to explore a place in which learning happens and in which learning can be studied.

The ECHOES project is a multi-site (Edinburgh, London, Sussex, Birmingham, Dundee, Glasgow, and Cardiff), three year project funded jointly by ESRC and EPSRC via the TLRP TEL call. This project which will combine the latest and most innovative methods in participatory design of education technology with cutting-edge multimodal interfaces including motion, gesture, and facial expression capture, audio reactivity and gaze tracking within an augmented reality 3D environment. Further details on the project can be found here:

The ECHOES project is currently at the recruitment stage. We are looking for a range of full-time, part-time RAs and PhD students. These posts are spread across the various sites. Details are below. If you are interested in any of these posts please follow the links below and contact the people named in each advert.

*Check each advert for closing date as it varies across posts*

Full-Time Research Fellow (School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh)

The successful applicant will contribute to the design and development of an intelligent multimodal interface, using a combination of an interactive whiteboard, 3D graphics, speech synthesis, and video input technology. The post will involve development of the ECHOES software architecture and organisation of software modules developed at the other sites. Experience in software engineering and multi-modal interfaces is highly desirable.

Part-Time Research Assistant (School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh)

Job description same as above except RA will focus more on combining existing interface technologies, e.g. motion tracking + gaze tracking, into the ECHOES architecture.

Full-Time Research Fellow (London Knowledge Lab, University of London)

The successful applicant will collaborate in the development of the ECHOES II environment with other researchers, focusing particularly on the design and implementation of the learning activities and interventions along with the ‘action engine’ responsible for the selection of the activities based on user input .

Part-Time Research Assistant (London Knowledge Lab, University of London)

The successful applicant will collaborate in the design of the ECHOES II environment with other researchers, focusing particularly on the design and testing of the learning activities and the evaluation of the educational impact of the environment.

Full-Time Research Fellow (School of Informatics, University of Sussex)

The successful candidate will use participatory design methods with children in order to design and implement the interface for the ECHOES II environment, and collaborate in the develompent of the environment with the other researchers, focusing particularly on the development of 3D characters and avatars and “mirroring” the user’s actions through video input.

Enquiries should be address to Dr. Judith Good (

Full-Time PhD. (School of Computing, University of Dundee)

The School of Computing invites applications for a PhD student to work on the functional communication of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and similar disabilities within a wider project to develop and evaluate a technology enhanced multimodal learning environment designed to scaffold children’s social interaction and communication skills.

The successful candidate will collaborate with other researchers who will be designing a system for the exploration and learning of social interaction skills, and will be focussing of how the ECHOES environment impacts on the interactive communication of children with ASD, specifically Asperger Syndrome.

A first class or good 2:1 Honours or Masters degree, or equivalent, in Applied Computing, Computer Science, Psychology, Cognitive Science or related discipline is essential, as are knowledge of user-centred design methods, computer vision, and an ability to organise and run studies involving children, parents and professionals. Good written and communication skills are essential.

Enquiries and application requests should be addressed to Dr Annalu Waller ( ).

Closing date for applications: 15 September 2008

Completing the Circle

The Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts (Middlesex University) is hosting a one-day symposium focussing on novel methods, or methods newly borrowed from other disciplines, in evaluating the user's or audience's response to media such as websites, portable media (such as iPods, PSPs), pervasive games, film, videogames, technology-rich performance, interactive art. The organising committee have put out a special call for researchers using eye tracking to evaluate film or media.

For further information see:

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Research Assistant in Active Viewing of Dynamic Scenes

John Henderson and I have recently been awarded a 2-year Leverhulme research grant investigating Active Viewing of Dynamic Scenes. We are very excited about the project as it will enable us to explore issues of attentional control, eye movements, and scene processing using dynamic scenes such as naturalistic social scenes, film and television. This will allow us to build upon the initial research I have been doing in this area and provide the foundations for other research groups to follow.

The project will begin later this year and we are currently advertising for a part-time Research Assistant to join the project. Details copied below. If you are interested please contact me or John asap as the deadline is July 11th.

"Research Assistant, Edinburgh University

Active Viewing of Dynamic Scenes: Eye Movements in Video

The University of Edinburgh invites applications for a two-year, part-time (20 hours per week), fixed term Research Assistant related to a new project funded by the Leverhulme Trust titled: Active Viewing of Dynamic Scenes: Eye Movements in Video. The post requires technical expertise with computational methods in computer graphics with particular application to video. Knowledge of human visual perception and eyetracking methods is desirable. The research assistant will interact with cognitive psychologists and cognitive scientists in the research team, and should have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Applications are welcomed from individuals with a good first degree in computer science, informatics, or related computational discipline.

Informal enquiries: Prof John M. Henderson (

Apply online (, Vacancy Reference: 3009312) including a CV and statement of relevant experience. Alternatively, telephone the recruitment line on 0131 650 2511. "

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MSC in Visual Cognition

I am happy to announce that as of the academic year 2008-2009 Edinburgh University Psychology department will be hosting an MSc programme in Visual Cognition. This one-year taught MSc will give students the opportunity of learning from leading researchers in the field of Visual Cognition and Percention in Action: Prof. John M Henderson, Dr. James Brockmole, Dr. Robert McIntosh, and Dr. Antje Nuthman. Students will also benefit from the broad and varied visual cognition and eye movement research groups across the University. The taught course will culminate in a Summer research project in which the students can explore their own research ideas under the tutelage of researchers such as myself. This provides a framework under which students interested in Psychology and Cognitive Science can improve their empirical skills in the area of eye tracking and apply it to new and innovative areas. I would specifically welcome applicants who are interested in eye movement and attentional control during static and dynamic scene viewing and during film and media viewing.

Funding may be available for this MSc.

For further information follow this link:

If you have any specific questions about the course or want to discuss potential research ideas contact me directly (tim [dot] smith [at]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Attention: experimental film project

How do we watch film? How does the way that I watch a film differ from the way you watch a film? If we were to make a film of the way I watch a film, what would it look like?

These are some of the questions a group of Design and Digital Media MSc. students under my mentoring are exploring in an art installation entitled Attention: experimental film project. Parag Mital, Stefanie Tan Su Ann, and Dave Stewart have create an interactive film experience for their Digital Media Studio Project that will be premiered this Friday (21st March), 12-5pm in Teviot Row House, Edinburgh University.

The installation is inspired by my research into how we attend to film, how this shapes our experience of a film, and how film manipulates this attention (see my thesis). Film can be interpreted as an analogue of our experience of the visual world. Snapshots of fragmented but related visual information is presented to us in a way that we can comprehend by forming conceptual linkages between them. This is similar to the way we acquire information from the world by moving our eyes. If we take this analogy to its logical conclusion, a visual recreation of the information acquired from a scene as a person shifts their eyes may resemble an edited filmic representation of that scene.

Creating such a filmic recreation of a viewers experience is the intention of this project.

How is this accomplished and what is the result? Check out the project website or come along to the premier to find out