Lewis Chuang

Address: Max-Planck-Ring 8
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 112
Phone: +49 7071 601 608
Fax: +49 7071 601 616
E-Mail: lewis.chuang


Picture of Chuang, Lewis

Lewis Chuang

Position: Group Leader  Unit: Bülthoff


A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must
move with the flow of the process, must join and flow with it. - Frank Herbert

My research group, Cognition and Control for Human-Machine Systems (link), focuses on the human factors of closed-loop control, and their underlying psychophysiological bases. In particular, I am interested in how we seek out and process task-relevant information whilst controlling machine systems.

We interact actively with dynamic visual environments. For example, we move our gaze across our surroundings as well as manually manipulate objects, in order to access task-relevant information. Moreover, we are able to allocate limited attention resources to relevant tasks, in spite of workload and anxiety levels.

My research involves understanding how humans seek out and process information, in order to operate in control environments. To do so, I employ experimental setups that allow human participants to interact with their environments, as they are accustomed to in the real world. To this end, I employ non-obtrusive measurement techniques, such as eye- and body-

tracking, and EEG, ECG and SCA, that allows the human behavior to be observed without disrupting performance itself.

Understanding how humans perform in a natural and unrestrained environment can inform the development of human-machine interfaces, allowing for better integration and faster adoption.


Examples of Human-Machine Interactions

Current lab members (link)

Menja Scheer: Mental workload during closed-loop control

Evangelia-Regkina Symeonidou: Haptic feedback during closed-loop control

Christiane Glatz: The influence of auditory warning cues during steering

Nina Flad: Visual information sampling with simultaneous EEG and eyetracking

Katharina-Marie Lahmer: Auditory warnings for takeover

Katrin Kunz: Driving simulation

Jonas Ditz: Mobile EEG



Monika Marsching: Eye-movements during flight training

Marius Klug: A software framework for multimodal user sensing

Silke Wittkowski: The influence of environmental sounds during steering

Jonas Walter: The influence of field-of-view in visuomotor training

Hans-Joachim Bieg (Bosch GmbH):Mid-level eye movements

Björn Browatzki: Methods for mobile gaze tracking

Anne Geuzebroerk: Attentional tunneling during closed-loop control

Riya Paul: EEG signal processing in a moving-base simulator

Jon Allsop: Influence of anxiety on eye-movement planning

Associated projects and funding

SFB-TRR161: Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing (2015-2019)

BW-FIT: Information at your fingertips (2007–2011)

European Union 7th Framework Programme: myCopter

I supervise a research group that investigates how humans seek out and process task-relevant information for the effective control of machine systems, such as vehicles. Machines extend our physical capacity to sense and interact with our environments. For example, collision avoidance systems in an aircraft allow the pilot to be aware of fast moving traffic before they are even within range of human sight. Meanwhile, the pilot selectively relies on information provided by the system, to determine and execute the appropriate combination of actions, necessary for effectively maneuvering of the aircraft.

This continuous interaction between man and machine comprise a closed loop system. Information is constantly exchanged between man and machine, which is subsequently processed and acted on according to their respective cognitive and control processes. Our group employs eye-tracking, motion capture and electroencephalography to define the capacity of a human operator to interact in tandem with a responsive machine system. In particular, vehicle models with control dynamics have been well-defined and engineered for their intended purpose. We believe that doing so will extend our current understanding of attentional processes and motor control. In addition, we are motivated to apply our findings to the development of novel and more effective interfaces for information visualization and shared control.

Main research areas


The goal of this project is to extract physiological features (e.g., EEG) that can reliably index the amount of workload that the operator is experiencing in the domain of perceptual-motor control. Research into EEG markers of mental workload have tended to be focused on aspects such as sustained attention or working memory. Here, we are motivated to estimate perceptual-motor fatigue of the operator before potentially fatal decrements in performance occur.


Scheer M Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (September-2014) Is the novelty-P3 suitable for indexing mental workload in steering tasks? 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society (KogWis 2014), Springer, Berlin, Germany, S135-S136.

Flad N Person, Nieuwenhuizen FM Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (June-2014) System Delay in Flight Simulators Impairs Performance and Increases Physiological Workload In: Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics, 11th International Conference on Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics (EPCE 2014), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 3-11.


High perceptual motor demands can reduce our capacity to attend to secondary tasks. For example, we could fail to notice the sudden appearance of a crossing pedestrian, especially under severe driving conditions. In this line of research, we seek to understand how our capacity for detecting and recognizing peripheral events vary with increasing demands in the control task (e.g., instability).


Glatz C Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (September-2014): Looming auditory warnings initiate earlier event-related potentials in a manual steering task, 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society (KogWis 2014), Tübingen, Germany, Cognitive Processing, 15(Supplement 1) S38.

Bieg H-J Person, Bresciani J-P Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (September-2012) Looking for Discriminating Is Different from Looking for Looking's Sake PLoS ONE 7(9) 1-9.


We move our eyes to actively select and process task-relevant information in real-time. By monitoring how eye-movements are coordinated during control maneuvers, we are able to determine aspects of the visual scene that support the operator’s control capabilities. Our research in this area has two emphases. The first involves developing algorithms for estimating, filtering and analyzing natural gaze in real-time and under challenging scenarios (e.g., cockpit environment). The second targets a fundamental understanding of how eye-movements are coordinated so as to handle shifts in task priorities.


Bonev B , Chuang LL Person and Escolano F (May-2013) How do image complexity, task demands and looking biases influence human gaze behavior? Pattern Recognition Letters 34(7) 723–730.

Bieg H-J Person, Bresciani J-P Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (October-2013) Saccade reaction time asymmetries during task-switching in pursuit tracking Experimental Brain Research 230(3) 271-281.


EEG signals can suffer from artefacts due to electromagnetic noise or muscle activity. These noise sources can be amplified in settings that involve a heavy use of electrical equipment and voluntary user movements, such as moving-base flight simulators. Here, we seek to enable EEG recordings in such demanding workspaces by developing robust measurement paradigms and filter algorithms.


Browatzki B Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Chuang LL Person (April-2014) A comparison of geometric- and regression-based mobile gaze-tracking Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8(200) 1-12.

Lewis Chuang is a project leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics for “Cognition and Control in Human-Machine Systems”. In particular, he investigates how humans process information in order to interact with and control complex machines (e.g., vehicles) [1]. In parallel, he collaborates with computer scientists and engineers to select between different designs for human-machine communications. For instance, he evaluated how haptic force-feedback should be provided to teloperators of swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles in order to help them avoid potential unseen collisions [2]. Lewis Chuang is motivated to observe human behavior without interfering with human-machine-interactions. Thus, he has developed novel neuroscientific methods for unrestrained gaze-tracking [3] and evaluating task engagement during steering [4]. This has proved invaluable in his external collaborations on visual computing [5][6] and in understanding the challenges of a consumer-level flying car [7]. Currently, he is engaged on identifying the potential dangers that the transition from manual to autonomous driving will pose—as everyday drivers fail to understand the real capabilities of assisted driving technologies and designers fail to communicate their expectations of driver participation effectively [8][9][10]. A full C.V. is available upon request.

[1] Chuang, L. Error visualization and information-seeking behavior for air-vehicle control. In Schmorrow, D. and Fidopiastis, C., Eds., Foundations of Augmented Cognition. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, 9183, 3–11, Aug 2015.

[2] Son, H., Franchi, A., Chuang, L. L., Kim, J., Bülthoff, H. H., and Robuffo Giordano, P. Human-centered design and evaluation of haptic cueing for teleoperation of multiple mobile robots. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 43(2), 597–609, Apr 2013.

[3] Browatzki, B., Bülthoff, H. H., and Chuang, L. L. A comparison of geometric- and regression-based mobile gaze-tracking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(200), 1–12, Apr 2014

[4] Scheer, M., Bülthoff, H. H., and Chuang, L. L. Steering demands diminish the early- P3, late-P3 and RON components of the event-related potential of task-irrelevant environmental sounds. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10(73), Feb 2016.

[5] Transregional Research Centre for Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing (, supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany (TRR161-C03).

[6] Burch M, Chuang L, Fischer B, Schmidt A and Weiskopf D: Eye Tracking and Visualization: Foundations, Techniques, and Applications, Springer, Cham, Switzerland, (2017).in press

[7] myCopter: Enabling Technologies for Personal Aerial Transportation Systems (, supported by European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (#266470)

[8] Sadeghian, S., Chuang, L. L., Heuten, W., and Boll, S. Assisting drivers with ambient take over requests in highly automated driving. In Proceedings from the 8th International Conference on Automative User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, (Auto-UI 2016), 1–8, Oct 2016.

[9] Löcken, A., Borojeni, S. S., Müller, H., Gable, T. M., Triberti, S., Diels, C., Glatz, C., Alvarez, I., Chuang, L. L., and Boll, S. Towards adaptive ambient in-vehicle displays and interactions: Insights and design guidelines from the 2015 Automotive-UI dedicated workshop. In Meixner, G. and Müller, C., Eds., Automotive User Interfaces - Creating Interactive Experiences in the Car. Springer, Berlin, Germany, in press.

[10] Chuang, L. L., Gehring, S., Kay, J., Olivier, P., and Schmidt, A. “Ambient notification environments” (17161). In Schloss Dagstuhl—Leibniz- Zentrum für Informatik, Apr 2017.

References per page: Year: Medium:

Show abstracts

Talks (38):

Glatz C, Bülthoff HH and Chuang L (September-21-2016) Abstract Talk: Looming warnings orient and sustain attention at cued location, 50. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs 2016), Leipzig, Germany.
Chuang L and Scheer M (September-19-2016) Abstract Talk: Evaluating steering demands from EEG/ERP responses to task-irrelevant distraction, 50. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs 2016), Leipzig, Germany 49.
Chuang L (September-13-2016) Keynote Lecture: Beyond a fixation on fixations: What can we learn from eye-movement behaviour?, 6th International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2016) at UbiComp 2016, Heidelberg, Germany.
Chuang LL (September-12-2016) Keynote Lecture: Neuroergonomics show that augmented reality glasses result in less workload whilst navigating, 3rd Workshop on Ubiquitous Technologies for Augmenting the Human Mind (WAHM 2016) at UbiComp 2016, Heidelberg, Germany.
Chuang LL (November-5-2015) Invited Lecture: Beyond Steering in Human-Centered Closed-Loop Control, Institute for Neural Computation: INC Chalk Talk Series, San Diego, CA, USA.
Chuang L (September-16-2015) Invited Lecture: Non-obtrusive measurements of attention and workload in steering, DSC 2015 Europe: Driving Simulation Conference & Exhibition, Tübingen, Germany.
Flad N, Bülthoff HH and Chuang LL (August-17-2015) Abstract Talk: Towards studying the influence of information channel properties on visual scanning processes, International Summer School on Visual Computing (VCSS 2015), Rostock, Germany 8.
Chuang LL, Nieuwenhuizen FM, Walter J and Bülthoff HH (March-9-2015) Abstract Talk: Learning anticipatory eye-movements for control, 57th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2015), Hildesheim, Germany 58.
Chuang L (July-9-2014) Invited Lecture: Seeking and Processing Information During Steering, TUD Fachrichtung Psychologie: Bühler-Kolloquium, Dresden, Germany.
Chuang LL (June-29-2014) Invited Lecture: Understanding the Human Operator in Man-Machine Systems for Closed-Loop Control Behavior, 6th International Conference on Brain and Cognitive Engineering (BCE 2014), Tübingen, Germany.
Chuang LL, Flad N, Scheer M, Nieuwenhuizen FM and Bülthoff HH (April-1-2014) Abstract Talk: Closed-loop control performance and workload in a flight simulator, 56th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2014), Giessen, Germany 45.
Chuang L (November-2-2012) Invited Lecture: Active Information Retrieval in Scene Perception and Object Learning, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience: Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
Nieuwenhuizen F, Chuang L and Bülthoff HH (November-2012) Abstract Talk: myCopter: Enabling Technologies for Personal Aerial Transportation Systems A progress report, 4th International HELI World Conference at the International Aerospace Supply Fair AIRTEC 2012, Frankfurt a.M., Germany.
Chuang L (November-2-2011) Invited Lecture: Perception of the active observer, Institute of Cognitive Science, Universität Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany.
Chuang L (October-2011) Invited Lecture: Moving objects: From object speed estimation to object exploration, Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.
Chuang L (October-2011) Invited Lecture: The active observer: Implications for science and engineering, TNO Human Factors, Soesterberg, Netherlands.
Chuang L (August-29-2011) Invited Lecture: How do we seek out information?, D-CIS Lab Colloquium, Delft, Netherlands.
Wallraven C and Chuang L (May-2011) Abstract Talk: Non-accidental properties determine object exploration patterns, 15th International Conferece on Cognitive and Neural Systems (ICCNS 2011), Boston, MA, USA 1-2.
Chuang L (November-2006) Abstract Talk: An active approach to object recognition, 7th Conference of the Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNa 2006), Oberjoch, Germany 13.
Vuong QC, Pilz KS and Chuang L (August-2006) Abstract Talk: Motion from the bottom up: From detection to cognition, 29th European Conference on Visual Perception, St. Petersburg, Russia, Perception, 35(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 69.
Chuang L, Vuong QC, Thornton IM and Bülthoff HH (November-9-2005) Abstract Talk: Recognising novel deforming objects, 13th Annual Workshop on Object Perception, Attention, and Memory (OPAM 2005), Toronto, Canada 3.
Lander K and Chuang L (September-3-2005) Abstract Talk: Recognizing Face Identity from Natural and Morphed Smiles, 14th Bi-Annual Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP 2005), Leiden, The Netherlands 72.
Chuang L (September-2005) Abstract Talk: Why use Line Drawings?, 6. Neurowissenschaftliche Nachwuchskonferenz Tübingen (NeNa '05), Blaubeuren, Germany 8.
Chuang L (August-2005): Motion matters: learning dynamic objects, Sensational Seminar Series, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
Chuang L, Vuong QC and Thornton I (March-2005) Abstract Talk: Recognising Flubber: Role of motion in visual object recognition, Brainstorming Colloquium, Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
Lander K, Chuang L and Bruce V (January-2004): The importance of motion for learning and recognising faces., 76th Vision Seminar, ATR Laboratories, Japan.
Lander K, Chuang L and Bruce V (September-2003): The role of motion in learning new faces., European Conference on Cognitive Psychology, Granada, Spain.
Lander K and Chuang L (July-2003): What aspects of facial motion are beneficial for recognition?, 12th International Conference on Perception and Action, Perth, Australia.
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Last updated: Monday, 22.05.2017