‘Game On’ at Centre for Life, July

Last week Will, Maeve and I showed our research at the Centre for Life’s “Game On 2.0” exhibition. Two tests were being run, firstly, comparing the ASTEROID test to current tests: Frisby, Randot and TNO.  Secondly, measuring the average person’s depth perception on psychophysics equipment Ignacio had set up. To run all the equipment we had quickly learnt beforehand how to use the stereotests, record data and power up Ignacio’s experiment.

As the Centre currently has the “Game On 2.0” exhibition on, we were bang in the middle of 60 years’ worth of games, all emitting different sounds. Although exciting at first, these snippets of Mario Cart and Clash of the Titans began to grate on us by the end of the week! We were constantly on our feet testing the many children that circled to the table to get their eyes tested. All the children seemed to enjoy ASTEROID and the parents were willing for us to take down data for both experiments. We received lots of feedback, got a large sample of data and are excited to see what the stats will show! Altogether a lovely week interacting with the public 🙂

Nikki  IMAG2222

We went to the Centre for Life and had a stand in the Game On exhibition so that we could get children to participate in our research. We managed to get lots of children of a range of ages to take part, which was great and really helpful. We had two separate tests going on; a test of ASTEROID compared to other, currently used stereotests; and a psychophysics test to get an idea of the average population’s stereovision.

Sometimes it was really quiet and you could just hear the sound of computer game characters dying and shooting one another on the many screens in the exhibition, and at other times we were rushing around to cope with the numbers of people crowding around our stand. We found that as soon as you had one person doing the experiment, other people were curious and wanted a go too, so we tried the tests ourselves in the quieter moments. I’d never done any of them before, only being new to the project, so I quickly realised why the children were finding some of the tests difficult, by struggling at them myself. The children found the tests a range of difficulties- due to not understanding our instructions or by being nearly stereoblind. I was only there for two days but in that time we gathered lots of data and I found out more about the project.


A good morning’s coding

I’ve just come back from another fun morning working with Gareth down at Fluid Pixel. We are working on fine-tuning the critical 3D test image which we will be using to assess vision. Basically, it’s a pattern of small, colourful dots strewn randomly over the screen. On one side of the screen, a square patch of dots stands out in depth. The user’s job will be to spot this patch.  We are using this stimulus because it offers very little information, other than that provided by the 3D itself. In the vision science literature, it’s known as a dynamic random-dot stereogram, and it’s one of the most rigorous tests of binocular visual function.

We streamlined the code, fixed a few bugs and experimented with different dot sizes and densities.  I think the 3D patch is looking a lot clearer now. Tomorrow, Gareth and I will be sitting down again to work on the computer code which will control how demanding the test is. The basic idea is to start off easy and get harder, but it’s amazing how many ways there are of doing that!

Author: Jenny Read

Big ideas event at Seven Stories

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So we now have another event in our diary: on March 31st, we will present ASTEROID at the Big Ideas event at Seven Stories in the Ouseburn Valley! Using children’s books we will explain 3D vision to 10-12 year olds. I’ll be participating in several workshops organised by Seven Stories to explore how we could use children’s books for ASTEROID. So, I’ll be on a quest to find the perfect book for our project. What’s really exciting is that there are some artists involved too! They will be at the workshops inspiring us to make use of drama, film or cartoons in our activities. I’m curious what will come out of these workshops.  It will be great to explore new creative ways of communicating science! 


Author: Kathleen Vancleef