Thursday, September 5, 2013

Introducing The Eye Tribe Tracker

It's with great pride I today introduce the Eye Tribe Tracker. It's the worlds smallest remote tracker, the first to use USB3.0 and the only one below $100. It's not targeting the research community, instead it aims for new grounds being developers of next-gen gaze interaction applications. I will let the academic crowd determine if it meets their requirements. I'm too biased to claim that it's better than this or that. The only way to properly evaluate eye trackers is through a consensus driven standardized evaluation protocol carried out by independent parties.

On a personal level today marks an important milestone. I build my first gaze interaction software back in 2008, it was my masters thesis project at Lund University titled Neovisus. That's when I realized that this could be a natural element of future device control, not for a specific user group but for everyone. At the time eye trackers were unfortunately really hard to come by, the one I used costs $25,000 (and still does). Javier San Agustin and myself  attempted to fix this during our R&D of the ITU GazeTracker, an open source eye tracker software. In many ways we succeeded, but it lacked critical features, it was difficult to setup, you had to order components to assembly your own rig and tracking performance was poor and far from automatic compared to commercial alternatives.

Overall, the ITU GazeTracker was a great experience, it evolved to become most distributed eye tracking software out there and gathered a strong online community. During these years we learned a lot. Enough to realize what needed improvement and what the missing parts were. It became apparent that we could not accomplish that in a part-time setting with sporadic efforts, to accomplish something great would take a full time commitment.

Here we are two years later. With the launch of an truly affordable eye tracker we have taken a big step towards realizing the vision we are burning for. No longer is there a prohibiting financial barrier that's preventing developers for exploring the many benefits eye tracking can bring to their applications.

Best of all, this is still the beginning. I can't wait to get this into the hands of all the developers who placed a $99 bet on the future.

Tech specs (preliminary)

Sampling rate40Hz and 60Hz mode
Accuracy0.5° (average)
Spatial Resolution0.1° (RMS)
Latency<20ms at 60Hz
Calibration5, 9, 12 points
Operating range45cm – 75cm
Tracking area40cm x 40cm at 65cm distance
Screen sizesUp to 24”
API/SDKC++, C# and Java included
Data outputBinocular gaze data
Dimensions (W/H/D)20 x 1.9 x 1.6 cm (7.9 x 0.75 x 0.66 inches)
ConnectionUSB3.0 Superspeed