Towards a mobile phone pupillometer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Although rather poetic, such a statement becomes clearly more relevant if we acknowledge that dynamic changes in pupillary dimensions convey a great amount of information, regarding the general psychological and neurophysiological condition of the observed person. Most commonly used pupillometers are rather expensive, and may require highly controlled experimental setups to be used. Those can limit greatly the applicability of the devices in practise. Based on a basic smartphone and a cardboard support, originally proposed for virtual reality applications, we developed a portable pupillometer, which can be used in natural, as well as controlled stimuli conditions. The proposed device fits the category of monocular video pupillometers, meaning that it continuously measures one of the user’s eyes, while the other may receive pre-determined visual stimulation. To help validating the use of the pupillometer, we measured the evolution of pupillary dimensions during a standard “ice bucket” hand test. The results followed quite accurately the behaviour reported in literature, with increases of pupillary diameters in the order of 15% to 20%, as a result of placing or removing the subject’s hand. Recorded pupillary reaction response times were about 2.6 s, which suggest an interplay between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system controlling activity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Human Factors and Systems Interaction - Proceedings of the AHFE 2019 International Conference on Human Factors and Systems Interaction
EditorsIsabel L. Nunes
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-20040-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-20039-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAHFE International Conference on Human Factors and Systems Interaction, 2019 - Washington D.C., United States
Duration: 24 Jul 201928 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


ConferenceAHFE International Conference on Human Factors and Systems Interaction, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington D.C.


  • Attention
  • Autonomous nervous system
  • Low-cost pupillometer
  • Neuroscience
  • Portable
  • Psychological assessments


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