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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags laptop

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

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?