Yesterday I was involved in a unique and interesting experiment. A couple weeks ago I was chosen to be one of the subjects to participate in an aviation weather study. I am very committed to safety especially in and around airplanes. I believe education can make a difference in accident rates. I try to attend every flying related class and seminar I can, so I was thrilled to be involved.
Yesterday's session was held in one of the computer science labs at Clemson University. Oh my what a dream place for computer geeks. I guess I am one of those because I couldn't help grinning like a nerd. There were computers of every shape and description. Some were running the most stunning programming I've ever seen.
After filling out the basic forms answering simple questions I was placed in front of a really large very interesting monitor. It had tracking camera(s) mounted within its borders. Around the edges. The camera(s) were to track my eye movements as I looked at the images to be shown on the screen. You may have seen or used something like that before but I was amazed. (Btw I did not use the chin rest shown in the photo.)
In the first part I was shown a series of aerial photos all weather related and asked if I would continue my flight based on what I saw. The tracking would show which parts of the images I looked at and for how long before making my choice.
After that I was asked to take a computer based weather course. I had completed something like this before so it was a snap. Completing that I was then shown another set of images. Again tracking the area of my gaze. There were several more studies some computer based and some with a tutor. Finally I was shown the first set of photos again and my answers compared.
There will be more of this study in the coming weeks, but I admit it was a blast.