Subject Area

Computer Science


Pupillary diameter monitoring has proven successful at objectively measuring cognitive load. This work presents three robust RGB video based pupillary diameter trackers and compares them for measuring cognitive load using commodity cameras. We investigate the use of modified starburst algorithm from previous work and propose two algorithms: 2-Level Snakuscules and a convolutional neural network which we call PupilNet. Our results show PupilNet outperforms other algorithms in measuring pupil dilation, is robust to various lighting conditions, and robust to different eye colors. In addition, this work explores various deep learning architecture for extracting the pupillary response as well as understand the network's behavior with three visualization techniques: feature and filter map visualization, gradient ascent, and occluded heat map. The study shows promising results for extracting the pupillary response as objective cognitive load measurement.

Degree Date

Fall 12-16-2017

Document Type


Degree Name



Computer Science and Engineering


Eric C. Larson

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License