Tobii takes on Mobile VR

Tobii takes on Mobile VR

You may have already seen today’s news, but this morning Tobii announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to help bring the promise of eye tracking to mobile VR and AR headsets. To quickly summarize:

  • Tobii announced that it is collaborating with Qualcomm to bring eye tracking to mobile AR and VR headsets.
  • As part of the collaboration, the companies are creating a reference design and development kit.
  • For Tobii, today’s announcement is an important proof point for the significant demand, and substantial benefits, of incorporating eye tracking into VR/AR hardware.
Qualcomm Snapdragon HMD with Eye Tracking integration

At Tobii, we see eye tracking as an essential component for the next generation of virtual and augmented reality devices, across all form factors — from tethered systems, to more flexible standalone headsets.

When OEMs intelligently integrate eye tracking into a VR or AR headset, you gain (in almost every case) a consistent user experience whether you are using an affordable mobile VR headset, or a top-of-the-line professional HMD.

This is particularly important for untethered mobile devices as they normally have less sophisticated controllers. The good news is that eye tracking addresses this by providing a more natural and more intuitive user experience.

Eye tracking benefits in untethered VR devices

Today’s announcement is a big deal for anyone interested in untethered mobile VR devices, which are typically available at a lower cost than traditional tethered systems. With eye tracking, devices can become more immersive, more familiar, and more comfortable to use.

In fact, at Tobii we see two ways that eye tracking improves AR and VR technology. First, integrating eye tracking into a VR or AR headset results in a better device and second, it provides a better experience for the end user.


Better devices

When eye tracking is integrated into a VR or AR headset, special techniques become possible.

  • Foveated rendering (rendering images in high definition only in the focal area of a user’s gaze) means that devices can produce better visuals, be offered for a lower cost, or gain increased mobility and battery life.
  • Headset alignment via IPD and eye position result in better visuals and make the headset more comfortable (and better configured) for each user.

Better experiences

When VR applications are designed to take advantage of eye tracking, a variety of important benefits emerge.

  • First, it becomes possible to use eye contact within virtual reality, enabling people to look each other in the eye, and allowing virtual characters to emulate visual engagement.
  • Second, eye tracking enables you to experience the familiar sensation of hand-eye coordination, letting users use their eyes in combination with their hands just like they would do in the real world.
  • Finally, eye tracking reduces the number of steps required to perform actions in virtual and augmented reality, reducing what would normally be a three-step process (look, aim, click) to a two-step process (look, click).

Looking ahead to next week — keep your eyes peeled for more updates, and more coverage, of Tobii at GDC 2018. We have a bunch of fun things planned, and we hope to see some of you in San Francisco!

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.