- Ulrica Wikström
- November 12, 2020 | 5 min
Is eye tracking a good fit for your technology?
The first experience of a new technology can create such a strong impression that we often vividly recall the moment. I have a very clear memory from the late 1980s when I first used a Macintosh computer mouse. The departure from text editors and complex keystrokes banged out on dumb terminals to Apple’s user-friendly interface and clickable mouse buttons was like riding to work on a horse-and-cart one day and driving a sports car the next. Yet, at the time, I don’t think we fully appreciated the impact this new input mechanism would have in accelerating the adoption of computing in the home and the workplace.
While each person’s list of great tech is individual, some are shared. I believe that eye tracking, like the computer mouse, belongs to the latter. When people experience eye tracking for the first time, it creates a sense of wonder that lasts well beyond the initial encounter. It sparks the imagination, and a chain-reaction of questions like how can I use it? Can I fit it into something I’m working on? How do I get started?
And that’s what I am going to share with you in this post: how to get to know eye tracking, spark your creativity, and use our Concept Validation Tool and plug-and-play eye trackers to rapidly validate our technology.
The magic of eye tracking
You can use eye tracking as an input mechanism to control a device, or you can leverage the data it generates to solve a problem. When we work with customers and partners, a special kind of magic starts to take place. And that’s because each customer has an intimate understanding of their specific industry, the problems that need to be solved, and how eye tracking might solve them.
Because even if Tobii is the leader in eye tracking, it’s our customers who put the technology to work. They have the unique ideas and innovative applications that can deliver solutions that make a difference.
It’s not possible to share all innovations we have come across over the years, mainly because there are too many, but more importantly, because I am not the expert — you are. Hopefully, you are already imagining how eye tracking might fit your product. But here are a few of my favorite examples…
- Shifting from manual to automated processes — by leveraging the knowledge about where a person is looking. Used, for example, to control the focus area of an X-ray machine to limit exposure to radiation for staff and patients.
- Perform a quality control check, such as vehicle paintwork, airport security checks, or similar, with automatic log generation.
- Implementing natural zoom by allowing the user to lean forward and backward to zoom in and out. Such a feature would be highly useful in healthcare scenarios, for example, where hands are typically busy or need to remain sterile.
- Replace the traditional follow-my-finger-tests or questionnaires used to assess certain medical conditions with data-driven solutions — providing more accurate diagnosis and supporting follow-up treatments.
- Implement foveated rendering to dramatically reduce the amount of graphical processing needed to render an image — without loss of quality — and with a corresponding drop in the amount of data transported over networks.
But as with all innovation, the validity of an idea is not always apparent at the outset. There is no guarantee that it will work until you’ve tried it — and this is often the case for eye tracking.
It’s not always possible to validate your idea, or even have an idea until you physically connect an eye tracker to your device and start using your eyes to control things.
And that’s why we designed the Tobii Concept Validation Tool — plug-and-play eye tracking — to help you get to that point without having to do any application development.
Three steps to validation
Before you can use the tool, however, you need an eye tracker. If you already have one, you can download the tool directly. If not, the simplest approach is to purchase a USB peripheral, and I recommend you opt for our most recent model, the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 — which comes with additional treats for gamers.
Our USB peripherals interface with other devices through a USB port. As soon as you connect your eye tracker, the Tobii Experience App will start and help you to configure it (it takes a few seconds and is a fun experience in itself).
The final step is to download the Concept Validation Tool from our website, giving you instant access to our eye tracking demo that includes features such as:
Quality-control check at airport security
- Select an object by looking at it.
- Zoom, scroll, and pan across the screen with head or eye movements.
- Perform a quality control check by ensuring that the user looks at all areas on a screen.
- Stop an action when the user is distracted.
And that’s all there is to it! Later on, as you generate new ideas or refine your concept, you may want to explore some of Tobii’s product options. We offer a range of ready-made peripherals and integration platforms (image and digital-signal processing capabilities on a PCB), as well as IP licensing. To kick-start your development project, we offer workshops and professional services to help bridge the gap between evaluation and development. And no matter what your product idea, we have an eye tracking solution to support its data, form factor, and performance needs.
As the experts in your domain, you are uniquely positioned to expand the field of application of eye tracking — and we’d love to hear about your ideas.
All downloads and links as well as a short video about the Concept Validation Tool are available on our website See how it works.