Tobii continues to make headlines with its advancements in eye-tracking technology. Two months ago, the company released a new eye tracker, the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C, with a new chip that reduced the peripheral’s overall CPU load and power consumption. At CES this year, the company didn’t release a new device, but rather announced a few other things, such as more games that will support eye tracking, its first steps into integration with mobile devices, and the next step of combining eye tracking technology with virtual reality.
New Directions In VR And Mobile
The next challenge in virtual reality is all about power--specifically, how to use less of it and still provide the best experience in a virtual environment. Last year, we learned about foveated rendering, which uses eye-tracking software to render only the things you see in your field of view. This would save precious resources and reduce the overall load on the GPU.
This is the next stage in Tobii’s ongoing research with eye-tracking technology. If it can find a way to use eye-tracking to reduce the GPU load, it can lead to other technologies that would further optimize the VR experience. In addition to VR, the company also wants to bring the same technology to traditional PC gaming.
However, Tobii was a bit vague on its plans with foveated rendering, and rightfully so. Other companies, such as Fove, QiVARI, and SensoMotoric Instruments are all working on bringing eye-tracking to VR. More recently, Oculus acquired Copenhagen-based company The Eye Tribe, which is yet another eye-tracking technology group. In a way, it’s a race to see which can provide a definitive foveated rendering experience, and Tobii believes it can makes waves in the area this year.
In addition to VR, Tobii also made some headway into integrating eye-tracking into mobile devices by integrating its software into the Huawei Honor Magic smartphone last month. The exact functions of Tobii’s integrated technology aren’t clear, but we do know that the smartphone uses Tobii’s algorithms as well as an infrared camera. The result is that the “device can better understand the user’s current state, has greater insight into the user’s intention, and is better able to accommodate their actions.” It’s the first step towards the marriage of eye-tracking and mobile integration, and it won’t be the last time we hear of Tobii in both the VR and mobile spaces.
However, the main attraction for Tobii’s eye-tracking technology is still on PC games. Last November, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 and Steep were added to Tobii’s list of supported titles. Now, two more games will join the club: Crystal Dynamics’ Rise of the Tomb Raider and Techland’s Dying Light. The addition of these games marks a total of 45 titles that support the eye-tracking technology.
Even though there are advancements to be made in VR and mobile, it seems that Tobii’s bread and butter lies with PC gaming. More games are bound to get eye-tracking support in the coming months, and with yet another eye tracker available to the public, Tobii is slowly but surely becoming a household name.