With the Tobii elongated sensor, the computer can see where on the screen you are watching at the moment. It provides fun control; especially in a bunch of games – but is it as smooth as we had hoped?
We’ve been following Swedish company Tobii, and their innovative eye tracking technology for quite some time now. Two years ago, the first commercial product popped up, Sentry from SteelSeries. People were impressed by the technology; but it was also noted that a lot of work had to be done before they had a fully functional product.
Eye Tracker 4C on the other hand it is made and sold by company Tobii directly, and the most visible and new technology provided here is a brand new CPU called the Eye Chip. This technology takes over a lot of the work that the computer previously had to do, and it will speed up response time – and make precision more reliable.
When looking at the exterior of the Eye Tracker 4C, it looks a lot like the SteelSeries Sentry. It’s all about a this small black strip that you attach to the computer screen as a kind of elongated webcam (fixed on the bottom instead of the top). It has with the Eye Tracker 4 C gotten a little thinner and a little fancier – but not significantly. You put a small magnet on the screen frame, at the bottom; which you then attach the camera on. You get two magnetic mounts, so you can have the same device for both your desktop and laptop. This allows you to have it connected to your laptop, and still manage to close the lid, though because it’s 33.5 centimeters wide, it sticks it out a bit on the sides on a 13-inch screen. For it to work, you need to sit at least two feet from the camera; so if you have any widescreen experience, we recommend a larger computer.
According to the specifications Eye Tracker 4C require at least a quad core i5, but with Eye-chip integrated in the circuit; the load on the system is minimal. And yes, the basic function, that is, the tracking of the eyes, works just as well no matter what computer you use – so while playing against real live dealers on a casino or maybe during a PC-gaming – session, you will have the same experience all around; regardless of which hardware you use. However, Tobii does not guarantee that it will work on a slow PC.
This does not mean that the Eye Tracker 4C is without its troubles though. For example, to get the calibration exactly right, you have to go through a frustrating set of steps; regardless of which computer you’re using. Firstly it refuses to recognize that a user has eyes with glasses on, and calls you out to go polish them (when they already are clean). Without glasses, though, it is easier to calibrate, but there is still with a lot of hassle with the right position on the screen and eyes.
All in all the Eye Tracker 4C is a nice piece of technology, and if this is a glimpse into the future; it looks rather bright indeed.