When HTC Vive held its CES 2019 press conference last Monday the company made one of the biggest virtual reality (VR) announcements of the show, the HTC Vive Pro Eye. A new VR headset with built-in eye-tracking supplied by Tobii, VRFocus then caught up with the eye-tracking specialist to learn more.
Speaking to President, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Tobii, Henrik Eskilsson, he described how CES 2019 and the past year had been fantastic for the company thanks to partnerships with Alienware and HTC Vive, alongside seeing wider use cases for eye-tracking technology.
Eskilsson goes on to explain some of the fundamental use cases for eye-tracking, and why it can be inherently useful for VR headsets. It’s a topic VRFocus has keenly covered several times in the past. Firstly, eye-tracking can help to provide a far more realistic and natural approach to digital avatar interaction, being able to gauge what a user’s eyes are doing is a fundamental form of social interaction, knowing if someone is happy or sad for example.
Then there’s the tech use, or more precisely, foveated rendering. It’s a process which helps reduce the graphical load on a GPU by only rendering in maximum detail where someone is looking. While in their peripheral vision the quality is reduced, thus helping less powerful GPU’s run complex scenes or powerful GPU’s make a scene look even better.
There are of course other use cases such as using eye-tracking as a selection tool in menu’s for example, or for those who may not have much or any use of their arms.
Check out the video below to find out more about Tobii’s latest eye tracking efforts. VRFocus’ video producer Nina also went hands-on with the new HTC Vive Pro Eye headset finding out how good the integration between Tobii and HTC Vive Pro was. The HTC Vive Pro Eye is being targeted towards enterprise rather than the consumer market. There’s still no word on cost, but it is due for release sometime in Q2 2019.