The Eyes Have It

Millions of people watch TV, surf the Web, and notice outdoor billboards, but what their eyes are actually looking at might surprise you. Working under the mantra "the eye doesn't lie," Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research, and his staff at Ball State's Center for Media Design have designed an eye-tracking system that follows the micro-second movements of a viewer's eye while he watches a TV screen at a distance of 10 feet. "It's amazing how fast the eye moves and what it can tell us," says Michael Holmes of the Center of Media Design.

In recent years, eye-tracking equipment has become much more manageable and less intrusive, allowing for the study of the eye's workings with regard to print, TV, and the Web. In the future, Bloxham hopes to provide measurements for responses to outdoor advertising and in-store retailing.

"I would love to utilize the technology to measure the effectiveness of in-game advertising, since it is part of such a fast-moving atmosphere," says Bloxham. "I also think it would be quite interesting to take a look at product placement, and really see what the eye passes over in the vicinity of a given scene."

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