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Keeping an eye on the Future With Tobii

VRFocus chats with Tobii Tech President Oscar Werner about the future of eye tracking.

There are plenty of different avenues virtual reality (VR) manufacturers are pursuing to advance the industry, from better visuals like the HTC Vive Pro, to making headsets cable free and standalone such as Oculus Go. Another possibility being looked at is eye tracking, and one of the leaders in the field happens to be Tobii. So VRFocus caught up with Tobii Tech President Oscar Werner during the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC) to find out more.

Tobii HTC Vive headset

Eye tracking technology has a number of different use cases when it comes to VR. One of the biggest benefits comes in conjunction with foveated rendering. This helps reduce processing power by focusing maximum graphical performance where the user is looking whilst reducing detail at the periphery of their vision. With the GPU concentrating on a smaller area its working less and thus consuming less power, ideal for standalone devices that run off batteries, as it’ll make each charge last longer.

Secondary benefits relate to actual use cases. For example in social experiences like Facebook Spaces users can actually look at each other, providing far more realistic, human interactions, deepening the immersion. Or then there’s VR advertising, where brands and developers try to work out the most popular viewing areas when placing ads. Heat maps can be generated using eye tracking to give an accurate model of where each users gaze in concentrated.

VRFocus has been reporting on Tobii and eye tracking technology for a couple of years, yet the tech is still in its infancy when it comes to VR. Last year Tobii released an eye tracking development kit for HTC Vive and it was HTC Vive that the company used to showcase its latest developments during GDC 2018.

Qualcomm 845 Mobile VR Reference Design

One of Tobii’s most interesting announcements came a week prior to GDC 2018 when the company announced a partnership with Qualcomm. Qualcomm had unveiled its Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Design the previous month, demonstrating the design during GDC with Tobii’s tech built in.

Check out full full interview with Werner below, and for the latest updates from Tobii, keep reading VRFocus.

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