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Facilities

The Institute benefits from shared facilities such as Birkbeck-UCL Imaging Centre (BUCNI) and also hosts the Multimodal Lab which includes 3D motion tracking technology, gaze tracking techniques and panoramic cameras and microphones to capture and analyse natural interaction between people.

Eyelink II

A head-mounted eye tracker is available for accurate eye-movement recordings in room 410a. The Eyelink II is used extensively in eye movement research, with a number of MATLAB scripts available on the Internet for tailoring the eye tracker to your needs. If you are not versed in MATLAB, the Eyelink comes with standard WYSIWYG software packages for building experiments and viewing data, both of which are fairly intuitive to the non-programmer. E-Prime 2.0 Professional Edition is installed. Currently the EyeLink II is attached to a flatscreen display. With the head-mounted scene camera, this eye-tracker can also be used for social interactions, engaging with real objects or any other use away from a computer monitor.

SMI Red remote eye tracker

A remote eye tracker is available in room 449. The SMI Red consists of a host laptop from which the software runs and a remote camera (underneath the monitor in the above picture). The system can be transported off-site, allowing for eye movement recordings of participants in their own homes (particularly useful for clinical or infant populations) or at other venues away from the lab (e.g. science festivals) with the use of the camera mount (in the above picture, left of monitor). A particularly advantageous aspect of the BeGaze software provided is that it is able to record fixation position at a region of interest (e.g. looking at the ‘face’ region), and track this region if it moves (e.g. in video playback).

Spherical video: LadyBug2

A discrete pod houses 6 lenses that can capture video for 85% of a complete sphere, including 360 degrees horizontally around the camera. Because it does not look like a camcorder, this camera is perfect for discreetly capturing behaviour. Note that the ladybug captures a set of stills which it later processes into a video form: the advantage is that there are a set of still images for analyses and publications, but has the disadvantage that even short videos are memory-heavy. Finally, the ladybug2 does not have synchronised audio capture, unlike the linear video cam corder. Stored in 449.

Vicon Nexus Body Motion Tracker

Vicon Nexus body motion capture equipment allows for recording of participants’ movements and is set up in room 449. Small spherical reflectors are attached to a participant, either directly or onto a body capture suit (available in the lab), or other moving item and reflect near infra-red lights back to 6 Vicon cameras that can be placed to capture around the lab or moved to suit your specific project. Movements are captured at ~200Hz to an accuracy of he captured motion can be overlayed onto the video recording of the behaviour (useful for checking your data and for presentations). Whilst built for short recording periods, it is suitable for longer recording periods (although it is not recommended that periods last longer than a minute or two due to the vast amount of data generated).

Biopac Student Lab, MP36


Can collect a range of physiological measures, including EKG/ECG, GSR, respiratory rate, pulse and blood pressure. This student edition comes with tutorials for first-time users (PDF). Stored in 449. Note that any consumables must be purchased by users although not all uses of the kit will require a consumable. 100 gel electrodes (2 per participant) cost £44.00 (as of July 2016).

Use of facilities

The IfMC consists of three main laboratories in 26 Bedford Way:

  • 410a: EyeLink II head-mounted gaze tracker
  • 446: Available for use with portable equipment
  • 449: Vicon Nexus body motion tracking equipment, Ladybug spherical camera and condenser microphone; SMI gaze tracker; Biopac
  • There are also three cubicles configured for ordinary behavioural testing in the IfMC suite.

All users of the lab facilities (including the PI and any other people who will use the equipment) must attend a training session for the equipment you will be using.   Please contact  to arrange for training. It is each individual researcher’s responsibility to be sure that ethical approval is in place for any studies using the facilities; this is not automatically covered by Institute for Multimodal Communication researchers.  If you are not sure, discuss with your PI or supervisor before running studies.

Booking and testing

Once you have registered your interest in using the lab, we will set you up on the lab calendar and allow you to make bookings.  Every calendar booking must include the user’s name, email address and mobile number so we know who is testing at any given time and can contact you if problems arise.

Currently we ask that you do not make more than 3 consecutive hours of bookings per day and no more than 10 hours per week.  These times may become more restricted depending on the number of people using the lab, which tends to vary by season.  If you need to test for periods longer than 3 hours per day or need to make more than 10 hours of bookings in one week, please contact us (or confer with other users who appear on the calendar to ensure that everyone has sufficient opportunity for testing).

On days that you use the lab, it is important to follow the lab maintenance policy. You will need a key to access the lab which can be collected from UCL Security Office after completing the usual forms; please contact  to find out which key you should request. Testing rooms should be locked securely whenever you are not present.

We especially request on behalf of the UCL Experimental Psychology Department that you do not run experiments after 7pm or on weekends for the safety of your participants and yourself; please see UCL guidance on lone working (pdf).

Please clean up after yourself and report any equipment problems to mailto: or

Costs

Maintenance, support and running costs of lab facilities are supported by income from research grants.  If your project is grant-funded, facility charges apply (£28.01 per hour as of 1 August 2016).  If you are applying for external funding please be sure to include facility charges in your project costing – in pFACT this can be found under non-staff costs, Research Facilities, PALS-MML.

Enquiries regarding facilities costs should be directed to