Tobii, the developers behind the incredible Tobii EyeX eye tracking peripheral, took to the CES 2016 show floor to detail their innovative new way to play video games with the eye tracking peripheral. Designed exclusively for PC gamers, the Tobii Eye X technology translates the viewer’s gaze into a usable controller by moving the screen in conjunction with the user’s gaze.
Similarly to the Nintendo tracking device for the Wii-mote, the eye tracker uses a relay of three infrared sensors that scan over a specific range until they connect with the desired object. In this case, the sensors reflect off of the user’s eyes, and bounce back to the sensor. From that information alone, the software can then judge the distance the user is from the sensor, where they are looking, and finally, where that translates to the PC’s screen.
Utilizing this information, the users eyes essentially become the right analog stick on a typical gaming controller, however, it is actually an entirely separate action. In a traditional game, the right analog stick (or mouse in the case of PCs), is used to direct not only the direction of the players field of view, but is also used to place the in-game cursor over interactive objects or enemies.
By separating these actions, the player can continue to fire at an enemy, or drive a car in a specific direction, while also looking around. The specific showcase that the GamersPack crew were invited to check out was the recently released Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. In the official press release, Tobii announced that they had partnered with Ubisoft to create a special integration of the technology into both Syndicate, and Tom Clancy’s The Division, “letting gamers aim, shoot and zipline with their eyes”.
The Assassin’s Creed demonstration found players in the midst of an intense horse race through the streets of London. With the addition of Eyetracking software into the game’s engine, players could easily ram into the carriage next to them, while also keeping an eye on the carriage coming up on the opposite side. Although some may feel a little overwhelmed by the addition, gamers will quickly recognize the strategic power that comes from an enhanced field of view.
Those who are familiar with the action-adventure gameplay of the Assassin’s Creed games will understand just how easy it is to find yourself surrounded by an immense number of enemies. Starting from the precarious rooftops, the integration of the technology into the game allows the player to enter eagle vision (a god-like ability to scan the environment), scan the enemies inhabiting a specific area, and mark their positions, using only their physical gaze. The final result allowing an unprecedented amount of control over the env ornament without necessarily overpowering the player.
The finalized EyeX technology is so innovative, that it will be available in two forms. The stand alone hardware is available for purchase now, and is plugged into the computer. A special patch allows it to rest on the bottom of the screen, where it has the best field of view of the user, while a special partnership with MSI Computer Corp. now features the technology integrated directly into the body of some of their new gaming notebooks, including the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Tobii, which was on hand to demo Assassin’s Creed Syndicate at CES.
The proprietary software allows users to create a profile, as well as guests, for their personal computers. Tailoring the experience to their own desktop space, screen size and distance. The software is also officially supported by Microsoft and has been configured to work along side all Windows 10 PCs as well as the Windows Hello facial recognition technology, allowing the computer to know when the user is interacting with the computer and when they are not.
The technology has won Tobii several innovation awards from CES 2016, and is on track to become featured in more games as the technology progresses. The Tobii EyeX is available now through the company’s website for $139, while the MSI GT72 series will be available later this month.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.