Tobii (tobii.com) isn’t a new company – they’ve been around for over a decade – but what they’re showing this year at CES is nothing short of outrageously innovative. You look at your computer monitor, it tracks your eye movement, and you use only your eyes to scroll, click, and perform actions. While we’ve heard of this idea in practice there is a difference with Tobii: it’s working and I tried it successfully for myself.
(video from WinSource.com)
The Tobii Rex, which will first be available to developers for $995, plugs in through any USB port and works instamagically. But as you can see from the above video, only (at least for the moment) works with Windows 8 devices. So why are we covering it on Phandroid? You’ll likely see Tobii technology built into Google Glass when it launches.
Below is a picture of an existing Tobii product… look familiar? As I mentioned, Tobii has been around for 10+ years, only not in the consumer technology space. Tobii is mostly focused on in the B2B space as a research company. For example, take 100 consumers, ask them to wear the Tobii glasses, put them in a grocery store aisle, and see exactly where there eyes wander. The resulting information offers invaluable information to marketers about product placement, packaging, and other critical information that helps companies make decisions and sales.
Privacy concerns aside, Google is the type of company that loves analytics, collecting information about consumers, and crowd sourcing that data to create valuable resources for others.
I want to make something very clear: I’m only speculating that Tobii will be a Google Glass Partner. When asked directly, VP of the Silicon Valley Tobii location said explicitly that he could not disclose any partnerships with Google or Google Glass. But it doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. Just browsing around their website lends itself some interesting ideas on how they might leverage their “Gaze Interaction” and “Eye Tracking Research” down the road.
Tobii’s technology is truly fascinating, partly because of the innovative concept, but even moreso because it actually works. If you couldn’t understand how Google Glass might create opportunities for new interactive experiences, I highly suggest you watch the video above and discuss in the comments below. And even then, watching someone control the Tobii made it seem like a tech demo that somehow cheated its way to seeming cool. Controlling it yourself? Blown away.
Watch for Tobii in 2013 and beyond, whether it’s with the Tobii Rex and Windows 8, Google Glass, or other platforms and opportunities. They specifically mentioned the potential opportunities in the gaming sector… think about THAT! How about a gun-slinging first person shooter where you use only two things: your eyesight and the trigger button.
Tobii is definitely a company to keep your eye on and we’ll make sure to keep you up to date with the latest developments.