Tobii 4C

I recently bought Tobii 4C, and has used with desktop PC.

Here are some observations.

  • After simple calibration, the accuracy of eye tracking is quite high and robust. I had used ITU Gaze Tracker (Eye Tribe). The calibration was pains, and a head move easily destroy tracking. Tobii, leader of gaze tracker, is doing a good job.
  • Tobii is doing a good job to use gaze tracking with current mainstream UI. Tobii core SDK bundles an utility for gaze tracking to use with Windows GUI. For instance, the Mouse warp feature helps the mouse pointer move fast beyond Hick’s law. It’s nice to use.

Moreover, they owned a lot of patents in the area of hardware design and applications with GUI/Touch UI.

So then I wonder why Tobii has not played a main role in main-stream of the human machine interfaces yet.

Some reasons may be:

  • Tobii style gaze tracking has its limitations. With non-portable type, use must sit near and in front of PC monitor. With portable type, user must wear bothering glasses.  Those would be overcome by some other players.
  • Business strategy
    • Tobii device was too expensive until Eye Tribe started to offer cheap device and Tobii was forced to follow it. Being expensive blocked a rapid creation of market of gaze tracking by Tobii.
    • Tobii could provide technology of platform layers, or could partner with platform (OS) players. But they are currently focusing on gaming and user research consulting…
    • Tobii patent portfolio blocks other players to realize the platform evolution, while Tobii does not have ability to play a platform provider…
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