Forget Kinect: Tobii Wants You to Control Games with Your Eyes

Gesture controls have become a norm in today’s gaming industry thanks to the Kinect and Leap Motion, but Tobii wants to bring eye-tracking tech into the picture as well. The company is partnering with SteelSeries to launch a gaming peripheral that lets you manipulate gameplay by simply moving your eyes.

Details are scarce at the moment, but the device will be commercially available to the mainstream market when it launches. SteelSeries is expected to reveal more information about the device over the next several months, although Tobii says the accessory will be based on the technology in its EyeX controller.

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SteelSeries and Tobii haven’t mentioned when the peripheral will hit the market or how much it will cost, but they’re aiming for a 2014 launch. Developers can also grab the EyeX developer kit for $95 at CES, which is much cheaper than its $195 normal price tag. 

We caught a glimpse of what eye-tracking tech could bring to video games after playing with Tobii’s previous-gen Rex eye tracker at last year’s CES and during Computex in Taiwan. The peripheral would be designed to work in conjunction with other input controls rather than replacing them.

For example, in our demo we used our eyes to select areas on a map and zoomed in by clicking the mouse or pressing a key. We also looked at characters in a game to provoke a reaction when trying to solve a crime. Tobii says that other potential use cases include using your eyes to select which player you’d like to pass the ball to in games like FIFA, leaning forward to look around corners, and aiming your flashlight or weapon by looking around the screen.

he device will be available for PCs upon launch just like Tobii’s other eye tracking devices, but SteelSeries says it “doesn’t see limitations” for the platform when asked about whether or not it will eventually work with consoles.

These demos weren’t based on any specific games or apps, but were designed to demonstrate the type of functionality eye-tracking can offer for gaming. We look forward to bringing you our first impressions during CES, where Tobii will be showcasing the gaming peripheral and its EyeX controller for the first time.

Lisa Eadicicco
LAPTOP Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.