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Tobii Pro Expands Eye Tracking Research into Virtual Reality

June 29, 2017 09:05 | Anonymous

Tobii Pro, the global leader in eye tracking research solutions, announces a new solution for conducting high-end, eye tracking research within immersive virtual environments (VR) - Tobii Pro VR Integration. The research tool, based on the HTC Vive headset integrated with Tobii eye tracking technology, comes with the Tobii Pro software development kit (SDK) for research applications. Researchers can collect and record eye tracking data from a VR environment with pinpoint accuracy and gain deeper insights on human behavior.

Eye tracking research in immersive VR is transforming how studies can be conducted and opens up entirely new possibilities in psychology, consumer behavior, and human performance. Through VR, researchers have complete control over a study environment which allows them to run scenarios that previously would have been too costly, risky or difficult to conduct in real life.  

“Combining eye tracking with VR is growing as a research methodology and our customers have started to demand this technology to be part of their toolkit for behavioral studies. The Tobii Pro VR Integration is our first step in making eye tracking in immersive VR a reliable and effective research tool for a range of fields. It marks our first major expansion of VR-based research tools,” said Tom Englund, president, Tobii Pro.  

Through eye tracking in VR:

  • Researchers can get deeper insights to the shopper journey and a store environment can be readily duplicated in the virtual world without having to go through the time and money of setting up an actual store. Shopper behavioral tests can be conducted on products pre-production as well as the effectiveness of campaign messages. 
  •  Researchers can study anxieties, phobias and PTSD in entirely new ways where they can fully control the visual stimuli, such as spiders or stressful situations, and regulate the experience in a safe environment without putting the participants in serious distress. 
  •  Skills in a variety of fields can be tested without risk e.g. surgery procedures on virtual operating rooms where the visual strategies of an expert can be applied to new training protocols.  
  •  An objective, unbiased look at what drives decision-making and reactions in the virtual world is obtained, providing unparalleled insights into how people act in these virtual environments for a deeper understanding of human behavior in the real world.  

“Eye tracking in immersive VR will open up opportunities for new ways of evaluating research questions that leverage the ability to control the environment and the net gain for researchers will be stronger insights that will be more predictive of real-world behaviour,” said Dr. Tim Holmes, director of research and development at Acuity Intelligence and Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

The technology behind the Tobii Pro VR Integration 
Tobii Pro VR Integration is a retrofit of the HTC Vive business edition headset with a seamless integration of Tobii eye tracking technology. It is capable of eye tracking all types of eyes, collecting binocular eye tracking data at 120 Hz (images per second). The solution allows study participants to move naturally while wearing the headset without compromising the user experience or the output of the eye tracking data. 

The solution comes with Tobii Pro’s software development kit (SDK) enabling eye tracking data collection for both live interactions and analysis. The Pro SDK supports millisecond synchronization and gives researchers the freedom to build analysis applications customized to their research on either Matlab, Python, C. or .Net compatible with Unity.

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