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EyeTracking Inc. applies real-time mental state measure to evaluate naval operational system

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CONTACTS:  Sylvia Knust, (619) 594-0370,

San Diego, CA – Oct. 22, 2003 – EyeTracking, Inc. announced today the completion of their CCAT funded research project for Northrop Grumman Corporation.  The study investigated how users interact with two versions of a mission critical system used for monitoring incoming air, surface and subsurface traffic. The study was funded by the Center of Commercialization of Advanced Technology (CCAT) to provide EyeTracking, Inc. with essential marketing tools for their advanced user-interface evaluation technology.

EyeTracking’s technology can evaluate in real-time where an individual is looking for critical information and how much mental effort is involved as they process the information. EyeTracking’s specialized form of evaluation monitors user cognitive workload to optimize the interface of new operational systems.

Northrop Grumman developed and maintains the Global Command and Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M) for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. Northrop Grumman is developing an updated version, 4.x, for future release. 

Northrop Grumman provided EyeTracking, Inc. with the opportunity to evaluate two versions of the GCCS-M, the current version installed on the Fleet and the updated version being developed for future release. The objectives of the case study were to demonstrate the value of the Index of Cognitive Activity (ICA) in measuring human performance to evaluate mission critical systems and to apply the ICA to evaluate and compare the two versions of the GCCS-M.

The ICA is a newly developed, patented measure based on pupil dilation that provides an objective, physiological based measure of cognitive workload. The ICA provides a quantitative assessment of interface design and usability by directly measuring the mental effort of the user engaged with it. Such assessment determines whether system redesigns increase, maintain, or reduce the mental workload of the user as desired.

Results of the study supported the effectiveness of the ICA in measuring mental effort in real time in naval operational settings. Further, results of the ICA analysis indicated that the redesigned GCCS-M maintained optimal levels of cognitive workload.

“EyeTracking’s technology and test environment provided unique insight into our product’s usability and functionality”, said Corey Bickmore, Department Manager in Defense Mission Systems at Northrop Grumman Corporation, “and it validated the positive impact of the GUI improvements to our latest software redesign. The metrics provided in the final report allowed us to demonstrate the effectiveness of the product to our client. The scientific test results confirmed our heuristic field experience and will ensure widespread product acceptance across our customer base.”

For more information about the case study, please visit the newly redesigned and recently launched website at and go to Mission Critical Solutions.

EyeTracking, Inc. is a San Diego based research company that delivers high quality eye-tracking services for commercial, government and military applications. Using patented methodologies, ETI integrates point-of-gaze metrics with new pupil-derived estimates of mental effort to tell you where people look, what holds their attention, and the level of cognitive processing that occurs. Whether your organization needs assistance evaluating new software, comparing designs, or studying complex human computer interaction with critical systems, EyeTracking, Inc. is committed to meeting your needs. At EyeTracking Inc. we embrace new challenges, and strive to exceed the expectations of every client. For more information, please visit

Northrop Grumman’s principal activity is to manufacture and sell innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics. It operates in the electronic systems, information technology, integrated systems, missions systems, and space technology sectors.

CCAT – supported by Congress and funded by the Department of Defense – is a public-private collaborative partnership between academia, industry, and government. Partners include San Diego State University (SDSU) Foundation and Entrepreneurial Management Center, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering and UCSD CONNECT, and ORINCON Technologies, Inc. with support from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego. The consortium-style CCAT intends to bridge the gap that exists between the generators of technology, the Department of Defense and the commercial marketplace. For more information about CCAT, visit

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