Cutting Edge Online Imaging Research

There has and is and maybe always will be a problem with the internet and media production. What you see on your monitor might not be what another person perceives. A deep dark red rose might be engaging for me and lack a certain depth for someone else.

On going research at Media Technology dept. at Empa, a research center in Switzerland is currently testing an online image evaluation system. The test is simple, you go there, click through a few calibration images to calibrate the test to your monitor according to their standards, and start looking at images. Some images will look good to you, some will seem not right. You pick the image you like and in the end a better print algorithm will be developed.

This may sound simple, but it’s a fantastic platform for the future. It means the possibility to set up a testing environment for images and colors for a multitude of media. The more participants the better, and by taking this quick exam you will be contributing to cutting-edge research into how colors and images can be evaluated using the internet.

Online Psychovisual Test

The Project is headed by the smart, talented, and amazingly beautiful Iris Sprow (pictured below):

G7 Strobe 1

Those who are working with images, are familiar with the difficulty of color representation in computer systems: one captures an image, scans it, or already has the file on his computer, works with it, saves it, puts it up on the Internet-and suddenly colors look differently than intended. When looking at the Internet page, colors appear yellowish in on the office monitor, they look too dark on the beamer of the colleague, dad’s laptop alters the bright colors blueish and grandma’s plasma display gives an overall pastel appearance.

This has to do with each monitor’s adjustment, with the system used, with the image processing program, the browser, etc. This is how the Internet works at the moment and is exactly what we want to take advantage of. Our research group tries to use this circumstance to draw conclusions to quality estimations and employed standards. Normally, for such ‘psycho-visual tests’, people are invited to evaluate a bunch of images in a darkened, standardized room on expensive high-end displays. This is a very costly and time-consuming task which leads, amongst other things, to why the issue of color, particularly in computers, still is not solved to a common satisfaction. We are trying to create such tests more efficiently by having the user investigate images at home on his own computer.

For this, we are looking for volunteers who take part in this test; since the start last week about 150 people already took the test. It is simple and takes, depending on enthusiasm, ten to twenty minutes and has no side effects. The test is available in English, German and Polish, all information is stored anonymously. There is no right or wrong; we are simply trying to find out how the average Internet user evaluates images.

The research group of Empa’s Media technology department and especially the project leader Iris Sprow would be glad if many ECI members would participate in the test; of course all others are encouraged as well, family, friends, etc.

Link to the test:

-Iris Sprow

3 thoughts on “Cutting Edge Online Imaging Research

  1. And I guess it depends on the computer’s settings and the color schemes. Hope more people will participate the said test. Good luck in the study!

  2. The Editor says:


    That’s the cool thing about the test they’ve setup, via statistical evaluations and doing the initial calibration images at the start of the test, it’s possible to evaluate images from different people despite the difference in monitors and calibrations across the internet.

  3. Tony Kondaks says:

    I found this discussion by searching in Google Blog the words “image evaluation internet”.
    This is of great interest to me because several years ago I developed a procedure for evaluating images on the internet as well, which is currently patent-pending. My system is designed to be simple and one that anyone can do – regardless of age or education – and can be learned in less than a minute.
    You can see it at:
    I look forward to taking the test that Iris Sprow links to.

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