March 22, 2013, by Yvonne Teoh

Life of an Intern – Active Vision Research

As one of the first year students, I was delighted to be given such a wonderful opportunity to join the 3-months summer internship on campus. The research – a collaboration between UNMC and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) – that I was working on, aimed to explore the anticipatory eye movements of children with clinical nystagmus in everyday behaviour (Active Vision). So, this required me to work on campus for most of the time with my supervisor Dr. Neil Mennie, and my senior, a PhD student, Sheryl Chong.

For the first month of the internship, I was introduced to the amazing device which was used to track eye movements, called the “Yarbus portable eye-tracker,” and was given training on how to operate and use it in a proper way. Besides that, I was taught how to calibrate the videos recorded, and subsequently video data coding.

Once I was trained and ready, I collected videos of the eye movements of children with vision problem in SMK Setapak Special Education, and this more or less occupied most of the second month of the internship. Meanwhile, I’ve gained basic knowledge regarding the physiology of the eye and the visual system from reading some reference books, and had more understanding about the active vision from articles recommended by my supervisor.

For the last month, I analysed the recorded videos with guidance from my supervisor and senior in the Allport and Cognitive Science labs. From this, I now know how to observe the different fixation patterns and, LAFs, and how to analyze the data using several parameters. Unwittingly, this research/internship raised my enthusiasm for other researches done in the aspects of vision/ visuomotor coordination, and active vision.

Photo Credit: Hoo Keat

Photo Credit: Hoo Keat

In short, what I did, and achieved during my summer internship was beyond my expectations – it was much better and a rewarding experience. When I first got the internship, and I was still a first year student, I thought all I need to do was to follow orders and instructions, in order to assist in video analysis of eye movements. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Instead, I was always given the opportunities to reflect my personal views to both my supervisor and senior, and to ask them questions about anything I didn’t understand.  I really appreciate, and enjoyed the days in which I worked alongside them. I’ve learnt a lot, and also gained lots of research experience throughout the summer internship. And most importantly, the experience of working with these experts made my summer internship even more valuable.

Wong Hoo Keat
(Year 2 in BSc (Hons) Psychology, UNMC)

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