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Tobii Pro's new eye-tracking analytics for VR learn from your gaze

The future is looking right at you.


The next generation of VR headsets will most likely all have eye tracking built in. And in the meantime, eye-tracking technology company Tobii is developing ways to analyze where our eyes go in VR, and learn from it.

I tried Tobii's eye-tracking tech in an HTC Vive VR headset a few months ago, and it was astonishingly good. But what's amazing and unsettling about where eye tracking is going is how applications could start to use it.

The company's new Tobii Pro VR Analytics tools embed into Unity-built apps, and will work with any VR headset that has Tobii's eye-tracking tech. According to Tom Englund, the president of Tobii Pro, adding analytics for eye motion "will help understand decision making and human attention in training scenarios, help understand virtual spaces, and track where people engage."

Tobii Pro already manufactures glasses with eye-tracking technology that are used to study attention and engagement, but working the analytics into VR will mean that, maybe, you could study how someone looks at a virtual art museum, or a design for a store. Or, to add more nuance for sports, VR training applications. (I also thought it would be interesting as a way to test engagement with prototype VR apps.)

Tobii Pro is an enterprise tool, not a consumer one. Englund says Tobii "won't proceed with data collection unless the person is giving full consent."

Tobii doesn't have any tools to measure eye-tracking analytics in AR yet. "It's early days for that," Englund says. But that could end up being even more useful. "Attention might have even bigger role in AR."