SVVR 2017 Keynote: VR with Eye Tracking

SVVR 2017 Keynote: VR with Eye Tracking

During the SVVR expo in San Jose, we did a keynote around the future of VR. You can re-live it here.

2016 was a pivotal year for Eye tracking in consumer electronics.

Alienware, MSI and Acer integrated eye tracking in laptops and computer displays, and Huawei integrated Tobii technology inside one of their flagship phone models.


A number of new major PC gaming titles was released, adding up to a total of 55 titles now being eye tracking enabled.

Also, major industry players like Google and Facebook made substantial investments into technology and competence in eye tracking, confirming that this is a key area for their future development.


Tobii, being the market leader in Eye tracking technology, has a unique position in delivering upon the promise of eye tracking. During the past 2 years we have invested into creating product offerings for Eye tracking in Virtual Reality.

We have developed our reference implementations on the HTC Vive system and are now offering Eye tracking to head mounted display (HMD) manufacturers.

At SVVR, Tobii is demonstrating a number of key use cases for Eye tracking in VR on prototypes based on the HTC Vive

Foveated rendering.

By rendering a smaller area of the screen, the region where the user is looking, with high resolution and consequently rendering the rest of the display with a lower resolution, substantial savings in GPU capacity can be achieved.

Inter pupillary distance (IPD) correction

By knowing the position of the eye using Eye tracking, the lens cup separation can be adjusted to fit the users IPD to enable an optimal experience.

Social cues

Avatar representation using Eye tracking enables the possibility to show the eye movements of the users, thus adding a sense of that there is a real person behind the avatar. The users gaze reveal what he or she is paying attention to.

UI and object interaction

Due to the fact that the eye tracker gives information on where the user is looking in the 3D space, developers can enable interaction with objects that feels very natural to the user.

With Eye tracking, games will start to be really immersive, due to the fact that with Eye tracking, you will be able to know what the actual intent of the user is. Let’s face it, we as humans do not establish eye contact by turning our forehead towards the person we talk to. We don’t turn our forehead towards the object that we want to throw something at.

Instead, we look. That is how we humans work. So what we do with eye tracking is to make it possible for VR headsets to adopt to the way humans naturally interact.

Update: SVVR 2017 Keynote Video


Some examples of the interactions that we showed:

Rapid selection

The eye is very good at quickly finding and fixating on objects. So in VR, Eye tracking is a very good technology to rapidly select objects and switch between them. This enables the opportunity to create very fast paced experiences that has not been possible before, when head aiming and hand controller based aiming was the only way to do this.

Natural interaction

If a software is aware of the users gaze, for instance picking up and throwing objects in an experience can be greatly simplified. The user just has to look at the object that is to be picked up and press a button on the controller and that object has been picked up. Likewise, when the software knows where the user intends to throw an object, it can make sure that the success of that throw is not only a function of how he or she moves the hand controller.


With eye tracking, it is very easy and intuitive to teleport. The only thing the user has to do in order to teleport is to look at the area of interest and press one button, making teleporting something that is fast and seamless.

Intelligent interfaces

With eye tracking, menu selection will become very quick and natural. Menus can be activate by gazing at an object, and the menu selection is done by gazing on that item that is to be chosen and pressing a button.

Having objects that react and changes based on gaze is also something that we will expect, especially in simulation and exploration games.

During the show, Tobii demonstrated some of these concepts in an implementation in the Solus project game. This is only the first taste of eye tracking in game titles that we will start to see during this year.

Interested in integrating eye tracking in VR?

Tobii Gaming

Written by

Tobii Gaming

Hi, we are a bunch of developers, QA Engineers, customer support, product managers, and more (mostly gamers) aiming to combine the wonder, competitiveness, and creativity of gaming with the technology of eye tracking. Over the past decade, we have built eye trackers to revolutionize the way we play, creating a vital tool for competitive gaming, and empowering a new generation of content creators, as well as their followers. We love to game, we love eye tracking.