There’s an unusual new gaming peripheral in town and it’s not a joystick or a new gaming mouse or keyboard. It’s the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C. That’s right, they’ve dabbled in the realm of making eye-tracking technology before with the eyeX and now they’re going into more specific territory with regard to gaming with the 4C.
The 4C has been crafted to be able to control the computer’s controls through the eyes and the head. Basically, it’s a bar that’s fitted to the screen of the monitor which consists of an array of IR sensors that bounce of the user’s retinas and track the eye movements.
The tracker, although connected to the PC, won’t be taking up any processing power from the computer itself and comes with its own EyeChip CPU that will carry out all the processing and transcoding it will need. This is good, since all the CPU processing can be more focused on delivering a smooth gaming experience.
Essentially, Tobii does not want to replace the gaming peripheral that users already own, but rather wants to assist them, since the tracker can’t really perform all the functions of a controller. It can only steer the direction or view of the user on the screen.
What’s special about this eye-tracker is that it’s also got a beta-version of a head-tracker in it. This means that while the screen will shift orientation based on the eyes through gazing, but will also shift orientation based on the movement of the head. It won’t work so well though, because it isn’t a fully functioning feature of the device yet.
Now the focus of the device will only be towards games, since it doesn’t really function at all with Windows applications. It can be used with Windows Hello pretty well. But getting into the meat of it, gaming on the device isn’t a bad experience. It can move the screen around well, save for some accuracy issues here and there, but a mouse or controller assistance is needed with the 4C. It’s good for fast movements on a first-person shooter for that quick responsiveness, but that’s all it’s good for. Even then it’ll need some help with the mouse.
Currently, when the market is more saturated with performance GPUs and well-made controllers, something fresh like an eye-tracker specifically for gaming is an appreciated entrant. But what it misses out on is actually doing the job it’s meant to. It will be a while before the technology will be able keep up with users’ actions and the gaming industry.
But for those who’d like to try out something different and feel like giving it a shot, it’s available for $149, available from November 25.