Most past and present research in computer vision involves passively observed data. Humans, however, are active observers outside the lab; they explore, search, select what and how to look. Nonetheless, how exactly active observation occurs in humans so that it can inform the design of active computer vision systems is an open problem. PESAO is designed for investigating active, visual observation in a 3D world. The goal was to build an experimental setup for various active perception tasks with human subjects (active observers) in mind that is capable of tracking the head and gaze. While many studies explore human performances, usually, they use line drawings portrayed in 2D, and no active observer is involved. PESAO allows us to bring many studies to the three-dimensional world, even involving active observers. In our instantiation, it spans an area of 400cm x 300cm and can track active observers at a frequency of 120Hz. Furthermore, PESAO provides tracking and recording of 6D head motion, gaze, eye movement-type, first-person video, head-mounted IMU sensor, birds-eye video, and experimenter notes. All are synchronized at microsecond resolution.