On many occasions, VRFocus has discussed eye-tracking technology and how it can be merged with virtual reality (VR) headsets to provide an even more immersive experience for users, whilst reducing the computational power needed via foveated rendering. Yet none of the main headset manufacturers have embraced the technology, that is until today with HTC Vive unveiling the Vive Pro Eye. VRFocus was there for the announcement and went hands-on with the headset so you could get a better look.
Essentially an upgraded HTC Vive Pro, the eye-tracking isn’t some modular add-on for the current headset that users will be able to buy. The eye-tracking sensors are built in around each lens, helping provide optimal tracking in a viable form factor. To this end, the HTC Vive Pro Eye will be primarily focused on enterprise customers rather than the general videogame buying public, and will likely have a suitable price tag to match when it arrives in Q2 2019.
When it comes to eye-tracking for enterprise use, it will allow businesses and developers to gather more data about their training environments, help optimize computer and VR performance, and offer product design and research groups even greater levels of feedback.
When looked at from a gameplay perspective eye-tracking is great for player engagement, whether that’s with another human player or an NPC (non-player character). Where eye’s look and how they behave are intrinsic parts of everyday communication, enabling you to understand if someone is happy, sad, or if they’re lying to you. Being able to put what may be small insignificant gestures into a VR experience could make all the difference when trying to attain proper immersion.
For the unveiling at CES 2019, VRFocus’ video producer Nina got to demo the headset, with HTC Vive using a flight simulator to showcase the eye-tracking properties of the device. Whilst only a brief look at what the HTC Vive Pro Eye can do, it’s great to see the headset maker continuing to innovate and improve the device.
Check out the hands-on video below, and for further updates from HTC Vive and CES 2019, keep reading VRFocus every day.