During a personal meeting with the creative minds over at Tobii, we got to see into the wave of AR/VR future. The future is looking better and it’s looking back at you. More specifically, it’s looking back at your eyes.
What is Tobii?
Tobii is a tech company that is driven to make eye tracking technology that will interface with nearly every aspect of your life. However, they are not satisfied with a technology that only performed will in their lab. Tobii wishes to make an eye tracking tech that will work wherever you take it. Whether that be in a plane or the dark of our gaming rooms, Tobii works and it’s getting us excited for the future.
They have three aspects to their company. The first is Tobii Dynavox, which is focused on helping those with special needs. Second is Tobii Pro, which is used in research labs by scientists, we assume to make killer robots. Finally, the aspect that makes us gamers the most excited is their gaming application.
Tobii gaming is all about enhancing your game experience by assisting your chosen form of control, whether it be keyboard and mouse or game pad. (sorry consoles, no Tobii for you yet). In fact, a Tobii eye tracking device has already been added to some of our favorite high performance gaming PCs like Alienware, ACER, MSI, and Predator. If you absolutely feel like you must have a Tobii eye tracker with your PC, but you don’t want to pay for a whole new laptop, you’re in luck. Tobii also has an eye tracking hardware that you can plug into your computer all you need to do from there is download the driver and away you go. Prices start at $99 US and goes up to $150 US.
How does it impact our experience?
The first aspect that was brought to our attention was a social aspect. When we play in online VR games, we create an avatar and that character can only look in the direction the VR headset is pointed. With Tobii, now you can see when an avatar is looking at you or or the NPC next to you. You can wink and make other facial expressions (eye related) at your friends.
The second aspect is object interaction. We’ve all noticed just how hard it is to interact with the environment. Sometimes what we want is too far away or just to hard to get at thanks to other things being around it. Not anymore. You want to pick up a rock that should be within your reach (and in the demo way, way outside your reach) that’s great! Simply look and click and it’s in your hands. Tobii makes something that was once a 3 step process and simple and enjoyable 2 step process.
How will it affect gaming?
Are you ready for 4K VR? According to Tobii developers, with this eye tracking hardware, the toll on graphics hardware will drop. This allows for better picture on a smaller graphics card due to foveated rendering. It’s how everything in the center of our vision is seen clearly but on the peripherals it is fuzzy. We all know what that means as well. A smaller graphics card means that price is also dropped. Making our VR experience all the more affordable and let’s be honest we need affordable VR that doesn’t suck.
As of right now, the only other information we have is that Tobii has agreements with 5 companies and is in talks with 10 more. I’m excited personally to trade in my old VR gear and start acquiring some new Tobii enhanced gear.
What do you think? Will we be seeing more Tobii enhance gaming in the future?