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Richard Dewhurst

I joined the PLAYTrack project at IMC in 2016 to develop eye tracking methodologies and  paradigms relating to play. Here are some examples of the things I have recently been pursuing:


Visual Attention and Hand-Eye-Coordination with the Creatures 'Teaser' Activity

In partnership with the LEGO Foundation, Playtrack has been conducting exploratory research on the role of visual attention in play behaviors. One activity, in particular, was the focus of my recent research: The Creatures 'Teaser' Activity, where children were asked to build a ‘Happy Creature’ using a set of LEGO elements. The paradigm implemented here combined eye-movement recordings with a manual coding scheme of building behaviour as participants assembled their creature. This creates a more holistic measure of visual attention and hand-eye coordination, allowing us to look in greater detail at how the attributes and affordances of particular bricks contribute to the building process.

Art Machines eye tracking pilot

The Art-Machines activity, created by the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium and the LEGO Idea Studio in LEGO Foundation, represents and excellent framework for coming to grips with the creative processes underlying Play. Briefly, dyads build a device from a collection of unorganised LEGO bricks which can draw a pattern when driven by a small toy motor. The goal of the present research plan is to hone in on the cognitive, co-creative and social aspects of this task using eye-tracking methodology.

Gaze allocation & subsequent memory for Nao, on screen or in physical mediums

We have conducted an experiment where we test children's attention to a robot. The Robot, called Nao, is hardware provided by our collaborators at the Danish school of Education (DPU - Theresa Schilhab). The goal is to assess real life engagement (i.e. face-to-face) versus viewing on screen--and in this way shed some light upon how children learn, remember and experience, in the commonly growing scenario of them obtaining information from tablets and computer screens. To this end we use mobile eyetracking technology to uncover the visual processes at play in each case (real, or recorded and viewed on screen). Preliminary results show more hesitancy and hindered retreival from screen medium.

Publications relating to play