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Camera Problems & Debug (Troubleshooting)

This page will help to fix problems with the viewing process.

You may want to familiarize yourself with the complete viewing process before continuing.

Camera faults

EyesDecide uses the Google Chrome camera driver, so if the webcam works in Chrome it should work in EyesDecide. Please contact us if you are having difficulty with your camera.

You can use this link to check your camera (or any other HTML5 camera demo):

Common Problems

90% of users experiencing a problem are working in a dark environment, or with bright lights behind their heads. Think about when you’re taking a selfie on your phone – if there’s a bright background such as the sky behind you, your face can’t be seen at all.

Selfie with bright background
Selfie with bright background – the face can’t be seen!

The human eye works much better in low light than webcams do. Webcams are even worse than phone cameras, because they’re often very cheap. Sometimes it seems like the light is OK to us, but when you look at the camera image it’s like this:

Laptop webcam in the dark
Laptop webcam in the dark

Obviously since we can’t see any facial features we can’t do eye tracking on this image.

Faster computers also help here, because we can process more images per second which makes tracking easier. Super-small laptops or low-end tablets such as the Macbook Air will only manage 12-15 images per second. Fast i5 or i7 laptops will manage 20 images per second.

Ideal environment

The ideal environment is sitting at a desk facing towards the window during daytime. This ensures your face is evenly and brightly lit.

When viewing at night, use bright overhead lights rather than small desk lamps or spotlamps. If the room is only dimly lit, you might experience problems.

This is an ideal setup, facing towards a window during the daytime.
This is an ideal setup, facing towards a window during the daytime.

Camera Check

The first camera check page is a normal part of the viewing process. The objective is to ensure the viewer is in the middle of the camera image, so we can still see you if you move.

We show some graphics to help aim the camera – a pair of crosshairs (looks like a +) and an animated face. Since we do not record video, the face shows the data we are actually measuring.

Viewers should adjust the camera (or screen, or seat) angle to ensure their face is in the centre of the image. Note that you should adjust the camera or seat, not your body. Don’t stretch or strain to get into position. You’ll need to stay in this position for a few minutes.

If you see a “tracking problem” message, check that the lighting complies with our requirements – brightly lit, facing windows during the daytime, and no shadows on your face. Sometimes keeping still for a moment gives the software time to catch up.


Camera problem

If the camera isn’t working or your face isn’t in the picture, you’ll see this picture instead. Try changing the aim of the camera until the face appears. If it doesn’t work, there’s a button top-right to cancel the viewing.

Camera check - no face
A large X is shown when no face is detected. This generally occurs because the camera is not pointed at the viewer’s face. Try changing the camera angle.

Camera Check #2

If the system has persistent problems during the calibration clicks, you’ll see the camera check screen again. But this time you will see your real video images on the screen. There will be a camera prompt to enable this – please click “Allow”.

Showing the camera image requires an extra permission from the user but makes it easier to understand what’s going wrong with the picture.

Debug camera view
Camera problem. Note the poor lighting due to bright windows behind head. The red line indicates that the head is too much to one side.

This time you’ll see the same graphics as before (except with your real face) but you’ll also get some advice at the bottom of the screen.

If you can fix the lighting, position or other problem then you’ll be able to go back to the viewing. If you don’t want to continue, click ‘cancel viewing’.

Note that if you are brought to this screen more than twice, the viewing session will be automatically ended. We don’t want to waste your time if it’s not going to work.

Bad Situations

Here are some examples of bad environments to avoid:

It’s just dark. No light.
Bright directional lights cause strong shadows on half the face.
Sitting with a window behind you makes everything look good EXCEPT your face.

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