Tobii's new eye tracker adds head tracking with an emphasis on PC games

Our testing showed that the earlier Tobii eyeX didn't work for everybody. Will the 4C be different?

After considerable testing, we concluded that Tobii’s first eye-tracking device was a mixed bag for productivity. Tobii's next-generation tracker, the Eye Tracker 4C, doubles down on PC gaming and adds head tracking to the mix.

Available November 25, the $149 Tobii Eye Tracker 4C appears to be similar to the eyeX we reviewed: a sensor bar that sticks to your monitor, tracking your eyes with several LEDs that reflect infrared light off your retinas. The 4C, however, decreases the size and visibility of these lights, making them less obtrusive. Tobii has also moved its eye-tracking functions onto the tracker itself, via a dedicated EyeChip CPU, to minimize the load on your PC.

That’s important, if only because Tobii has focused in on PC gaming as the chief reason you’ll want this device. Besides ensuring you have all the CPU horsepower you need for blasting bad guys, Tobii says the Eye Tracker 4C is intended “to complement, rather than replace,” traditional PC gaming inputs. That means you won’t be “steering” with your eyes, just looking for and locking on potential targets.

tobii eyex Mark Hachman

Tobii’s earlier eyeX required you to permanently affix a mount to your monitor. The company’s new 4C peripheral presumably will as well.

Tobii has also added what it calls a “beta” head-tracking mode, which differs somewhat from eye tracking. Eye tracking simply follows your gaze, orienting the screen accordingly. Head tracking reorients your screen if you lean down or to the side. (Still confused? Hardware hacker Johnny Lee visually explains head tracking in this 2007 video.)

What we found was that Tobii’s eye-tracking technology was just accurate enough to be interesting—but not totally precise. And that the accuracy varied depending on the color, shape, and size of the users' eyes. Tobii claims it has added “performance enhancements” to help offset these discrepancies, and a new USB 2.0 connection provides more data to and from the sensor.

In our tests of the eyeX, we concentrated on Tobii’s technology in applications like Word and Windows, an angle Tobii has seemingly abandoned. (The 4C, like the eyeX, can be used to biometrically identify you as part of Windows 10’s Windows Hello.) Tobii claims that over 40 game titles already support its eye-tracking technology, with more to come. Will eye tracking catch on with the release of the Eye Tracker 4C? Tobii certainly hopes so.

Why this matters: Eye tracking sounds fantastic on paper: you look, you shoot. What’s faster than your eyes, right? In practice, though, the earlier eyeX was off by just a bit on every glance, forcing you to correct a bit with the mouse. Keep in mind, too, that we reviewed the eyeX in February, a full month before the Oculus Rift finally launched. You probably have to consider virtual reality a competitor of sorts to eye tracking, at least for the money a consumer is willing to spend on PC gaming peripherals. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags laptop

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?