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Pfleging, Bastian; Fekety, Drea K.; Schmidt, Albrecht ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3890-1990 and Kun, Andrew L. (2016): A Model Relating Pupil Diameter to Mental Workload and Lighting Conditions. In: Kaye, Jofish (ed.) : CHI 2016 : proceedings : the 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems : San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA, May 7-12. New York, N.Y.: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 5776-5788

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In this paper, we present a proof-of-concept approach to estimating mental workload by measuring the user's pupil diameter under various controlled lighting conditions. Knowing the user's mental workload is desirable for many application scenarios, ranging from driving a car, to adaptive workplace setups. Typically, physiological sensors allow inferring mental workload, but these sensors might be rather uncomfortable to wear. Measuring pupil diameter through remote eye-tracking instead is an unobtrusive method. However, a practical eye-tracking-based system must also account for pupil changes due to variable lighting conditions. Based on the results of a study with tasks of varying mental demand and six different lighting conditions, we built a simple model that is able to infer the workload independently of the lighting condition in 75 % of the tested conditions.

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