The Sentry Eye Tracker is an out-of-the-box product for a company best known for its traditional video game peripherals. A few weeks ago, SteelSeries announced a partnership with Tobii Technology, a company SteelSeries calls “the masters of eye tracking.” Tobii has made a name for itself in the medical industry with its assistive technology and years of eye tracking research. The company has in fact been eyeing (pun intended) the gaming industry for a while; Tobii’s Vice President of OEM Solutions, Oscar Werner, praised the gaming industry saying, “the gaming industry is often at the forefront of innovative new technology.” Tobii developed the EyeX, an eye tracking peripheral for Windows which looks to be an early iteration of the Sentry Eye Tracker, and began shipping dev kits out back in May.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Tori Pugliese”]”Our R&D team isn’t just about keyboards, mice, and headsets”[/blockquote]
Though eye tracking seems to be a trending word in the gaming industry as of late, it’s actually been around for some time now. One company in particular, SensoMotoric Instruments, takes credit for the eye tracking tech inside of the Occulus Rift.
The Sentry Eye Tracker itself is pretty small and unassuming; its sleek design made it thin enough to sit at the base of your monitor, or be affixed to the top of your monitor. Like Tobii’s EyeX, the Sentry Eye Tracker is PC-only. Powered by SteelSeries’ proprietary engine which currently interfaces their mice, keyboards, and headsets, the Sentry Eye Tracker has 5 IR sensors and 1 camera. “We’ve done a lot of medical tests,” SteelSeries told us; the Sentry Eye Tracker will not harm the eyes of the users. It also works with glasses (yay, Gunnars!) and contacts as well as eye problems such as astigmatism.
The Sentry Eye Tracker records your gameplay and has three different playback outputs: a line graph, heat map, and an icon stats display showing how many times you looked at certain things.
The replay evaluation aspect of the Sentry Eye Tracker alone in incredible, particularly for pro gamers and prospective ones alike. SteelSeries has broken down competitive video games into statistics, benchmarks, and analytics; similar to the way one would track their heart rate when working out.
The important metric here is: fixation. Whenever your eyes are fixed in one area for more than 50 milliseconds, that’s one fixation. The more fixations per minute you have, the better player you are. Using this metric, SteelSeries has started compiling a database with their pro players, and these will be available to purchasers via the SteelSeries Engine.
The Sentry Eye Tracker is intended to be a coach that will help make you a better gamer. Combined with the cloud features of the SteelSeries Engine you’ll be able to compare yourself to pro gamers, and have measurable metrics to compare yourself to. The Sentry Eye Tracker will be available this December, and you can find out more about it here.