Eye-controlled arcade games move closer

Eye-controlled arcade games move closer

Summary: Swedish company Tobii has shrunk the size and updated the software of its eye-tracking device and hopes to see the technology go into use in the medical, design, presentation, surveillance and gaming industries

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

 |  Image 3 of 4

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Arcade game

    At CeBIT in 2011 Tobii told ZDNet UK it hoped to see its technology branch out from medical and presentation use and into other fields, such as games. At CeBIT 2012 it demonstrated an arcade machine that uses its technology as the control interface.

    The game uses the power of your gaze to destroy planet-threatening asteroids: a hard look fires a rock-shattering laser. The technology felt very natural and responsive, though the small red lights of the Tobii modules proved a bit off-putting. Also, a late stage of the game gave you the power to move the planet as well by swaying your head from side to side — an effective demonstration of how the Tobii modules can monitor, parse and combine varied data from their sensors, but uncomfortable to play.

    Compared to the earlier version of the hardware, we found it more responsive, less jumpy and, on the basis of the demonstration appliances, easier to integrate into a finished product from an OEM perspective.

    The technology being demonstrated was a pilot and Tobii did not disclose any major OEM deals, although Hyleen did say the company would be updating its partner page in a month's time.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

  • Tobii eye-tracking technology

    Tobii has overhauled the software stack as well; calbration used to take around 10 to 20 seconds but on the game machines and other demonstration appliances it took around 10. All the demonstrations felt more responsive than last year, apart from one — text scrolling — which still felt uncomfortable and unintuitive.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

  • Tobii eye-tracking hardware

    Though the company demonstrated a prototype laptop made in partnership with Lenovo a year ago, Tobii plans to pursue other markets due to the trend for slim, miniature laptops that is sweeping the technology industry, Hyleen said.

    "The vision is to bring our technology to mainstream computers," she said, but "this [module] will not fit into a regular laptop because nowadays people want ultrabooks."

    Instead, the company hopes to get its technology into industries where people need to stay focused on a multitude of items for long periods of time, such as airline baggage control or quality assurance in the manufacturing industries, and other "process-intensive industries that check you pay attention to the information", she said.

    For this, the company hopes to partner with OEMs to get its equipment into large single-monitor computers, as with the demonstration machine.

    The company is also looking into applications for lie detection, simulation and as a way of manipulating information in medical situations such as ultrasound evaluations, she said.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

Topic: Emerging Tech

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories


Log in or register to start the discussion