- Tobii Gaming
- January 8, 2018 | 4 min
CES 2018: Eye Tracking in VR/AR, Gaming, and PCs
This year, at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, we are gearing up to show how eye tracking enables better devices and better experiences generally across a wide range of devices, from gaming PCs and monitors to augmented and virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs).
Eye Tracking in AR/VR
One of the key themes that Tobii will focus on this year at CES is explaining some of the specific features and benefits that make eye tracking a foundational technology for creating truly powerful VR/AR devices and experiences.
How exactly does eye tracking make devices better?
It turns out that that there are a lot of very cool things you can do with the hardware when you know where a user’s eyes (and attention) are focused.
In fact, eye tracking makes it possible for devices to reduce graphics processing loads and simultaneously deliver higher-quality images.
The fovea is a small part of the eye responsible for sharp, clear vision. You’d be surprised by the small size of the spot in our field of view where the human eye can process high-definition images.
Because our brains are so good at filling in the gaps related to the blurriness of our peripheral vision, this essential aspect of how human vision works is almost unnoticeable.
But the fact remains that our eyes only see a small part of our visual field in high resolution. Screen-based devices still render the whole image in high-quality because they don’t know better. They need to cover all the bases since they don’t know where you are looking.
Eye tracking takes basic human biology and turns that into efficient technology. By rendering in high definition only the part of the screen where your focus is, you can get a higher resolution experience and reduce the required processing power.
With the lightened GPU load, HMDs can become more mobile, or achieve longer battery life, or provide an improved visual experience.
IPD stands for inter-pupillary distance, a fancier way of saying “the space between your eyes.” Since people’s faces come in all shapes and sizes, headsets are not optimally-suited for everyone.
Unless, of course, you have some revolutionary tech that can measure the position of your pupils by tracking your eyes. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It would enable an HMD to automatically adjust to individual users, in everything from device positioning to display settings.
Of course, with eye tracking, you can do just that — know precisely where a user’s pupils are oriented and deliver images that are optimally calibrated for any user’s eyes.
Hardware manufacturers are not the only beneficiaries of when eye tracking is incorporated into VR/AR HMDs. Developers and consumers also have reason to rejoice! There are two key areas in which eye tracking takes advantage of human instincts to sync our biology with technology.
Natural & immersive features
The first step to interacting with an object in real life is looking at it — making our gaze an important indicator of our intent. In that sense, eye tracking shortens the distance between thought and action and makes every interaction more fluid.
Whenever someone tries out VR demos with and without eye tracking, the difference in speed and fluidity is astonishing — and it’s not just clear to those experiencing it, but also for viewers seeing the screen recordings.
“After trying out these demos for the first time, people commonly report that eye tracking gives them the feeling of gaining superpowers. “
It’s not about making things easier. It’s about making things feel more natural and intuitive — and providing exciting experiences that can sometimes stretch beyond what is possible in real life.
Richer social interactions
Our eyes don’t only reveal where our focus is — they also play a significant role in the way we communicate and express emotions.
“Establishing eye contact is one of the primary ways humans connect. It’s such a deep-rooted and instinctive experience that it breaks through cultural barriers and traditions.”
By using eye tracking to mimic and control eye movements in virtual reality, multiplayer environments become lively and interactive — more real.
What can you expect at CES?
- In the past with Tobii VR demos, we’ve talked a lot about all the ways that eye tracking makes new things possible. This year, we are elaborating on that story, and offering some new interactive experiences that not only show the brand new things that eye tracking makes possible but ALSO more traditional experiences that eye tracking makes way BETTER.
- In addition to VR demos, we will also be showcasing laptops and monitors with eye tracking built in from partners such as Alienware, Acer and MSI.
- Building on the milestone we announced in late 2017, with over 100 games supporting Tobii Eye Tracking, we will, of course, be showcasing some amazing titles that integrate gaze and eye tracking, including Assassin’s Creed® Origins, Hitman, Agents of Mayhem, Megaton Rainfall, and many more!
Stop by booth #21409 (LVCC South Hall 1.1) to experience eye tracking in VR/AR plus gaming.
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