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Representative Results






A View of Their Own: Capturing the Egocentric View of Infants and Toddlers with Head-Mounted Cameras

Published: October 5th, 2018



1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, 2School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University
* These authors contributed equally

Infants and toddlers view the world in a fundamentally different way from their parents. Head-mounted cameras provide a tractable mechanism to understand the infant visual environment. This protocol provides guiding principles for experiments in the home or laboratory to capture the egocentric view of toddlers and infants.

Infants and toddlers view the world, at a basic sensory level, in a fundamentally different way from their parents. This is largely due to biological constraints: infants possess different body proportions than their parents and the ability to control their own head movements is less developed. Such constraints limit the visual input available. This protocol aims to provide guiding principles for researchers using head-mounted cameras to understand the changing visual input experienced by the developing infant. Successful use of this protocol will allow researchers to design and execute studies of the developing child's visual environment set in the home or laboratory. From this method, researchers can compile an aggregate view of all the possible items in a child's field of view. This method does not directly measure exactly what the child is looking at. By combining this approach with machine learning, computer vision algorithms, and hand-coding, researchers can produce a high-density dataset to illustrate the changing visual ecology of the developing infant.

For decades, psychologists have sought to understand the environment of the developing infant, which William James famously described as a "blooming, buzzing confusion1." The everyday experiences of the infant are typically studied by filming naturalistic play with social partners from a third-person perspective. These views from the side or above typically show cluttered environments and a daunting number of potential referents for any new word an infant hears2. To an outside observer, James's description is apt, but this stationary, third-person perspective is not the way an infant sees the world. An infant....

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The following procedure to collect data on infant and toddler’s visual experiences in the laboratory and at home was approved by the Indiana University Institutional Review Board. Informed consent was obtained from the infant’s caregiver.

1. Choose a Head Camera

NOTE: There are numerous small, lightweight, and portable cameras readily available for purchase (Figure 2).

  1. Choose a head camera that i.......

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One simple, yet informative, analysis is to count the number of objects in view at each point in time. Since a head camera produces data at approximately 30 Hz (30 images/s), down-sampling the data to 1 image every 5 s helps to produce a more manageable dataset while maintaining a resolution appropriate for understanding the types of scenes children see. Prior research has demonstrated that visual scenes are slow-changing in infants3. A custom script was used to dr.......

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This paper outlines the basics for applying head-mounted cameras to infants to capture their egocentric visual scene. Commercially available head cameras are sufficient for the vast majority of studies. Small, lightweight, and portable cameras should be incorporated into a soft fabric hat or headband and applied to the child's head. Once successfully designed and implemented, a variety of experiments can be run, both in laboratory settings as well as in the home environment. From the videos gathered, aggregate data a.......

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The authors thank Dr. Chen Yu for his guidance in the creation of this manuscript and for the data used in the Representative Results section. We thank the participating families that agreed to be used in the figures and filming of the protocol as well as Lydia Hoffstaetter for her careful reading of this manuscript. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grants T32HD007475-22 (J.I.B., D.H.A.), R01 HD074601 (S.B.), R01 HD028675 (S.B., L.B.S.), and F32HD093280 (L.K.S.). National Science Foundation grants BCS-1523982 (S.B., L.B.S) and CAREER IIS-1253549 (S.B., D.J.C.), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program #134296....

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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Head-camera Looxcie Looxcie 3
Head-camera Watec WAT-230A
Head-camera Supercircuits PC207XP
Head-camera KT&C VSN500N
Head-camera SereneLife HD Clip-On
Head-camera Conbrov Pen TD88
Head-camera Mvowizon Smiley Face Spy Button
Head-camera Narrative Clip 2
Head-camera MeCam DM06

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