There are plenty of ways virtual reality headsets could get better. They could offer higher-resolution screens (like the new Vive Pro), a wider field of view and improved built-in tracking sensors. But another feature might be even more essential: eye tracking. It’s not a new concept — we’ve been following FOVE’s eye-tracking headset, as well as 7Invensun’s Vive accessory, for a few years now. But it seems more important than ever as consumer VR winds up. Tobii, a company that’s been exploring the potential of eye tracking for a while, is hoping to integrate its technology into the next generation of VR headsets. And based on some demos I saw, it’s clearly not a question of if VR headsets will get eye tracking. It’s when.
Tobii first showed off its technology integrated into the HTC Vive at GDC last year. But at CES, it unveiled some new experiences to demonstrate the benefits of eye tracking. I was surprised to find that, aside from some sensor rings around the Vive’s lenses, it didn’t look as if the company added much to the headset. Instead, its hardware is able to seamlessly fit inside the Vive.