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Tobii HTC Vive headset

Tobii Unveils its Eye Tracking Development Kit for HTC Vive

The HTC Vive Kit will not be released as a consumer product.

Tobii, the eye tracking specialist, has announced availablility of its development kit for HTC Vive, aimed squarely at developers looking to unlock the potential for the technology in virtual reality (VR). 

The VR4 for Vive Kit is a retrofit service to the HTC Vive business edition. It contains Tobii VR4 (a reference implementation of Tobii eye tracking designed to support HMDs), an HTC Vive business edition HMD kit, Tobii software development kit (SDK) software and Tobii example applications showcasing eye tracking interactions.

Tobii HTC Vive headset

“Our existing demonstrations have resulted in a strong demand for a VR development kit with Tobii eye tracking,” said Oscar Werner, president of Tobii Tech in a statement. “Eye tracking is the next natural step for VR, and with this offering we are extending our commitment to the VR developer community to help provide the best experience possible for the end user while unleashing developer creativity.”

As the kit is designed solely for VR developers, with Tobii retrofitting HTC Vive business edition, it won’t be made publicly available. Instead those who’re interested will need to register their details through a dedicated website, after which Tobii will contact them with a quote for purchasing – the company hasn’t released a rough figure on what that might be – with shipments due to begin next month.

Eye tracking is likely to be one technology that’ll advance the immersion levels of future VR headsets as manufacturers and developers understand its benefits. Already built into the FOVE 0 headset, eye tracking in its most basic form can allow users to highlight in game objects or interact with an NPC, while more advanced use comes from its combination with foveated rendering. This allows a players viewpoint to be fully rendered at maximum resolution, while the surrounding periphery resolution is lowered, reducing the PC performance needed to display VR software and thus the cost of buying a suitably powerful rig.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Tobii, reporting back with the latest announcements.

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