Definition and use with VR

The “eye-tracking” technology, also called “eye metering” in French, has been in use for years in marketing but also with websites or even medicine. This eye movement tracking technology is now increasingly used in virtual reality to improve its various aspects. Update on this technology.

Is eye tracking necessary with virtual reality? Many believe so and many projects and devices are incorporating this technology in order to significantly improve virtual reality. But what exactly is Eye Tracking technology, how does it work and what uses can it have for eye tracking using virtual reality technology? We go around the question.

eye tracking definition

Eye tracking, sometimes called oculometry in French, is a technique It allows you to analyze a person’s eye activity by tracking their gaze. This technique makes it possible to know precisely Where the user sees what he sees and what he doesn’t see.

eye tracking

Even if human vision has a field of view also called a field of view (FOV) of 190 degrees, it is not homogeneous. In fact, our field of view is divided into zones. Central vision that matches the object you are looking at and covers 3-5% of your field of vision is very sharp This area is called FOVEA. Of the 3-5% in which your eyesight is fixed, the image is more blurry at 60 degrees covering your binocular vision and even more blurry in peripheral vision that extends beyond 60 degrees of binocular vision (covering both eyes).

Use of eye-tracking and eye-tracking techniques

Apart from medicine looking at eye diseases, Eye tracking technology is increasingly being used by marketing professionals. This technology makes it possible to effectively measure the impact of an ad placement or message in an environment. Some websites also use it to understand how the human eye interacts with a website, What are the areas that the user looks at the most and which ones they neglect. This helps to improve the layout of the website. These techniques are also used to analyze the behavior of top athletes. This technique is also sometimes used with some people with disabilities. He can only move his eyes.

There is Various techniques to follow a person’s gaze. Previously, it was necessary to use electrodes placed on each side of the eye. Now, the systems mainly use infrared cameras that record the optical path and thus mark the areas that the user notices.

Eye tracking in virtual reality

VR headset manufacturers pay close attention to eye tracking. The biggest names in virtual reality have bought eye-tracking companies. But why this interest in this technology and what Can eye tracking achieve virtual reality?

Eye tracking to improve identification in VR

One of the main concerns of virtual reality is that it is necessary to create 360-degree and 3D virtual worlds. This represents a huge amount of photo accounts and huge resources. The computing power of home computers, especially graphics computing, is limited. Even the most powerful graphics cards on the market today cannot calculate, in real time, excellent 360° and 3D definition.

VR eye tracking

As we saw earlier, only FOVEA shows us very clearly. With the Eye Tracking feature, it is possible to know exactly where the user is looking. Thus, this allows the program to calculate excellent graphics resolution only at the FOVEA level To provide only lower resolution in the binocular area and lower resolution in peripheral vision While giving the impression of excellent accuracy to the user’s eyes.

Eye tracking reduces computations in VR

So the result is very exciting for virtual reality. Eye tracking not only provides excellent accuracy to applications, but also greatly reduces the amount of calculations that have to be performed. By dramatically reducing the amount of computations that have to be performed, this offers two possibilities for VR app developers.

They can choose to make More complex virtual worlds In more realistic detail without increasing the amount of computations required compared to a VR application that does not use Eye Tracking technology. The second possibility presented is the equipment needed to operate virtual reality. With eye tracking, it’s possible to just require a more basic, less expensive, and less powerful computer. of computers normally needed for computation in VR.

Eye tracking and virtual reality interaction

Another potential use of eye tracking in VR is interaction. By knowing where the user is looking, it is possible to improve interaction in virtual worlds. In the context of using an avatar for example, this allows for a more natural interaction that includes the look of an avatar.

VR virtual reality eye tracking

It can also be used to bypass some control actions. Thus it is possible to replace the interaction with a controller by looking. If the user’s gaze is on the menu for example, it is possible to launch an action simply with the gaze.

Eye tracking to make gaming more natural

Eye-tracking technology can also find other applications. Some video game developers, for example, are seriously considering using Eye Tracking to improve their games.. This allows you to find out if the game is too easy or, on the contrary, too difficult. It can also be used to make the interaction between the player and the game more natural.

VR العين eye tracking

Thus it is possible thatAdapting the behavior of game characters according to the user’s gaze. If a player looks at a character, that person will also be able to stare at them as we normally do in life.

What are the risks of eye tracking in virtual reality?

We have shown it in length and width. The potential benefits and advantages of eye tracking are very important for virtual reality. But what about the risks? What are the limits of this practice? Do you really have to worry about that?

From a health point of view, there is no risk a priori. But the alerts are already on the privacy side. Indeed, from the way your gaze is pinned to an area, colors, people, or even advertisements, it will be possible to create an incredibly detailed profile relating to the users. This can be compared to installing a keylogger that will record all your actions on your computer.

The dangers of virtual reality eye tracking

“Privacy is a very important aspect of any new technology, which is why we ask the companies that create the software as well as the equipment that uses our technology. To obtain the express consent of users if they want to store or analyze this data” Explains Tobii, one of the market leaders in eye tracking.

An interesting tentative announcement but still very limited. Actually, It is very likely that this type of agreement will be required in the Terms of Use. Now, who really reads these documents? Very few users. So the most obvious solution could be the one proposed by Tobii at CES 2018. The company introduced the HTC Vive headset with its technology. It was possible to enable or disable eye tracking easily at any time. But it is an effort required of the equipment manufacturers themselves. Nowadays, we are already seeing many maps being produced with data collected anonymously. But it is doubtful that things will continue this way in the future..

Bubble risk in virtual reality

On the other hand, Some experts are already imagining reproducing a “bubble” inside VR as in Facebook. You will then find yourself stuck in universes that are personalized but also limited in terms of views, giving you a biased view of information. A relatively acceptable phenomenon when talking about entertainment, much less when virtual reality takes on a larger dimension. But who can really oppose it? one more time, The risk/benefit equation can cause problems. Gartner Virtual Reality Specialist Brian Blau explains the problem. ” It’s something people have been talking about for years, since the early days of virtual and augmented reality. How many different universes will there be? How do these separate us from reality but also from each other? »

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