SMI Reveals Modified Gear VR with Eye Tracking

The Samsung Gear VR mobile head-mounted display (HMD) has been out on the consumer market for several months now (not counting the Innovator Edition), and is an affordable entry point into virtual reality (VR) technology. But there’re features that could be added to make it more immersive, and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) has today unveiled a modified Gear VR that makes mobile VR with eye tracking commercially available for the first time.

Announcing the product on the eve of the Laval Virtual event in France, SMI Product Manager Dr Arnd Rose said: “For these markets and beyond, the value of this product is of knowing exactly what people are looking at in an environment you control. The SMI Mobile Eye Tracking HMD makes manipulating those environments and collating valuable eye tracking data easier than ever.”

Aimed at businesses SMI sees the headset meeting the needs of a wide range of professional and scientific sectors, from market research where companies could get valuable insight from shoppers exploring virtual shops, to academic research and training solutions, helping athletes improve situational awareness.

“Easily changing research scenarios within a virtual environment and harnessing the power of the eye tracking data will benefit my clients, which include leading market research firms,” stated Jakub Kasper, the head of Market Research service firm Constat.

SMI will be selling the Mobile ET-HMD as a complete kit. It’ll come with a Samsung Gear VR HMD with the eye tracking integrated, and modified Samsung Galaxy smartphone with eye tracking software and SDK pre-installed. There’s been no details on the actual price of the kit, or if SMI plan a wider release into the consumer market.

VRFocus will keep you updated on SMI’s plans, reporting back any announcements.