HTC Vive launches their first eye tracking integrated VR headset. In this article, we check out the new Vive Pro Eye and what does eye tracking offers to VR users and enterprises.
The Vive Pro Eye is not the first VR headset with eye tracking available. There has been many other such as:
- FOVE 0 dev kit
- Tobii retrofitted Vive CE (which has since evolved into the current Vive Pro Eye)
- SMI (which has since been acquired by Apple)
- Looxid VR Research Kit
- aGlass DK II.
The Vive Pro Eye is differentiated by being the most full featured VR headset that supports eye tracking and is available to enterprise users to purchase. It is not a dev or research kit or an add-on device. The (mostly enterprise) end-user for an eye-tracking enabled VR application will buy the Vive Pro Eye rather than any other headset.
Eye tracking is not really an essential feature for VR, so why the need for eye tracking? Here are some detailed features and use cases that the Vive Pro Eye enables:
Eye Tracking SDK Features:
- Pupil Position
- Pupil Diameter
- Eye Openness
- Focus Object
- Gaze Ray
- Eye Blendshape Morphs
- Foveated Rendering – Only where you look at is rendered at full resolution, whereas the peripheral is rendered at lower resolution as our eyes cannot tell the difference anywhere. This will lessen the workload on the graphics card so that we can get more realistic graphics in VR at higher resolution. Currently only available to the Nvidia RTX graphics card.
- Gameplay (Aim Assist, Object & Menu Selection) – You can use your gaze to select options on menus, guided aiming when shooting by using your gaze to aim, and more. This may not be the most natural interaction method as we do not use our eyes in real life to do such things and it can become tiring to do so constantly. We think that it is best if it helps the player subconsciously or without much intentional effort.
- Avatar Eyes – Your avatar’s eyes will show movement that follows your real eyes. This makes your presence in VR more realistic to other VR players.
- Analytics – Your gaze during the VR experience can be captured and the data visualized into a heatmap that can be analyzed.
Brand owners and retailers can now spot what influences consumers’ behavior and decision-making processes at every step of the shopping journey. Designers can test and get feedback on their products and designs before they go to market. In complex and risky environments like medical, aviation, or industrial settings, understanding attention and visual skills will enable more safe and efficient training.
Here is a video we made running on the SDK Sample and some environment we added in to make it look nicer.
Eye tracking is not a feature that most VR headset owners will have at this moment (maybe in the future due to the high cost). However there are many enterprise use cases that may prove to be useful which we expect are the target customers for the Vive Pro Eye.