The HTC Vive Pro Eye headset was revealed during the company’s CES 2019 press conference on Monday, January 7, where HTC announced that the headset would make use of integrated eye-tracking technology. We now know that Tobii is responsible for the eye-tracking in the Vive Pro Eye.
“HTC is one of the most influential companies in the VR industry and this integration firmly establishes eye tracking as a foundational VR technology,” Tobii CEO Henrik Eskilsson said in a press release. “It also demonstrated that Tobii is delivering on our promise to create better devices and better user experiences by adding eye tracking to the world’s leading VR devices.
Tobii has experimented with eye-tracking technology on Vive headsets in the past. In 2017, the company released a development kit that integrated its technology into the Vive Business Edition.
With its integrated eye tracking, the Vive Pro Eye will eliminate much of the need for traditional control schemes when navigating menus and performing other user interface tasks. Instead, these actions will be done by simply looking at what you want to select.
In the game Home Run Derby VR, for instance, users wearing the Vive Pro Eye will now only need to use the headset and a baseball bat, with interactions other than their swing handled by the Tobii technology. Security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin will be able to conduct better flight training by showing trainers exactly where trainees were looking during test flights.
Tobii technology is already compatible with a large number of traditional PC games, including recent releases like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Using a Tobii eye tracker in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, for instance, you’re able to aim your weapon with your gaze, control the camera without using an analog stick, and even throw objects using your eyes.
The HTC Vive Pro Eye is only one of the headsets announced during the January 7 press conference. Also coming is the Vive Cosmos, a portable headset designed to function with both PCs and — apparently — phones. It will be the first headset to make use of the new Vive Reality System user interface.