Can we detect whether participants' computers meet all technical requirements?

Yes, we have a client-side component that can be implemented to check that all technical requirements are met. Please note, when using the checker it should NOT be downloaded to your own servers, but rather will be run from our servers. The full details on our Environment Detection API are below.

Environment Detection API

Realeyes uses webcams to read peoples facial expressions and behaviour. Although most new devices rolling out already have a webcam, there is still a notable portion of users who don't have webcams to have their facial expressions read.

This can lead to the frustrating scenarios for users:

  • Spending tens of minutes going through a lengthy screener or survey only to discover they can't do the study because they don't have a webcam when they get to the facial coding part
  • Being routed to studies which require webcams several times in a row and being disqualified repeatedly
  • Being asked to take part in a survey via a web page pop-up even though they couldn't possibly do the study in the first place

And the following scenarios for sample providers:

  • Sample burn
  • Low incidence rates

It's clear that this is an annoyance for the users and causes unnecessary burn for sample providers.

One option is to ask for existence of webcam manually as a separate question, but in our experience running webcam based studies we've noted that this doesn't work well. People sometimes don't even know they have webcams or don't care to answer correctly. This leads to a reduction in the number of people successfully completing the test.

Fortunately, all the capability checks can be performed automatically without user intervention using our Environment Detection API. This makes it possible to make a quick and transparent check for capability of doing a Realeyes test and only invite or route capable people into the study.

Our Environment Detector, a client-side script that performs the required checks, is light-weight and easy to insert in webpages or surveys. The environment checker itself is distributed via the Amazon CDN to ensure it loads and executes at speeds which will not affect the user experience.

This component checks that:

  • The respondent is using a compatible web browser
  • The respondent has at least one webcam

These checks can be done fully automatically without user intervention and are unnoticeable to the respondent.

Possible usage scenarios:

  • Integrated into a survey router before screeners so that only capable people are routed into webcam studies or studies where there is part which strictly requires a webcam access
  • Inside a script that captures users from websites or other river sampling scenarios such that only capable people are asked to participate in surveys
  • To automatically update data about the participant capabilities when they are updating their panel profile
  • Integrated as the first step in the screener or survey script to make sure they don't unnecessarily waste time answering questions if they are not capable

Our full documentation on the Environment Detection API can be found here.

If you have any questions about how to use the component, please contact us at

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