The EAR Family Tree

 

The First Generation: The Analog EAR (1997-2000)

An analog micro-tape recorder that was triggered by an external chip. Please note, after 24 hours of monitoring, participants had to flip the (90min) tape!!!!

The EAR Device:

 

The EAR in Action:
(yes, it is me ... and I have never regretted not pursuing a modeling career)

 

 

The Second Generation: The Digital EAR (2001 - 2004)

A digital voice recorder with a heart surgery; the internal speaker was removed and replaced by a micro chip. Going digital revolutionized EAR research. Not only did the digital EAR work more reliably than the analog device, it was also substantially smaller, didn't require participants to flip tapes, and allowed the ambient sounds to be recorded with a time stamp. Finally, we didn't need to keep track of hundreds of tapes anymore, but could store the sound files conveniently on a  hard drive (however yet in a highly unpractical SONY-proprietary file format). With flash memory getting bigger and bigger and cheaper and cheaper, the digital EAR was able to track people continuously for more than a week!!!!

The EAR Device:

 

The EAR in Action:

 

 

The Third Generation: The PocketEAR (2005 - )

A PDA-based EAR system that relies on software-based triggering. Switching to handheld computers as a base for the EAR again is a major technological breakthrough. The fact that the EAR is now a program that can be installed on a variety of different systems makes researchers less dependent on a single manufacturer. Also, software-based triggering means that we can now tell the EAR when to record, how often to record, for how long to record, and when not to record. Needless to say that this adds an immense amount of flexibility to the method. Finally, with experience sampling software being available for Pocket PCs (see for example Barrett & Barrett's Experience Sampling Program), the EAR can now be merged with traditional experience sampling methods to capture people's real-life (objective) behaviors as well as (subjective) experiences. This again adds an entire layer of possibilities to the kind of questions researchers can pursue.

The PocketEAR Software:

The EAR in Action:

 

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