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A New Technology

When working with new technology, concepts and design will be different from other technologies. In this case concepts that work on desktop don’t necessarily work in VR, interfaces that work well by pointing with a VR controller don’t necessarily work well for eye tracking. What differentiates eye tracking from other input modalities is that we now use eyes, not only to see but also to affect the world we’re seeing.

A challenge will be to find the right balance between when and how to act on the user’s gaze, while also giving the user freedom to look around.

Eye tracking can give the user a feeling of superhuman powers, create more natural interactions and open doors to unique experiences. However, used in the wrong way or at the wrong time, may have a negative impact on the user experience.

Some of the learnings on these pages can at first be hard to understand by looking at a 2D screen. It’s recommended that the reader tries the demos and examples available (see Explore).

Time to Experiment

When working with eye tracking you should account for learning time, this is new technology and old concepts don’t always work. Take time to learn what works and what doesn’t.

It’s also important to account for user testing. Users perceive and interact with your concepts differently and have a varying level of eye tracking quality.

Some ideas may not sound exciting but provide subtle and large long-term benefits, other ideas might sound super cool but become annoying and repetitive rather quickly. For example, using eye tracking to improve ergonomics when picking up objects might be beneficial, while shooting out from your eyes could become really annoying.

Games and Other Virtual Worlds

We strongly believe in eye tracking as a necessary component of successful XR interactions. Just as mouse and touch have emerged as the most natural way to interact with 2D content, we are convinced that eye tracking is the selection modality that enables the quickest and most accurate ability for the user to interact with objects in fully immersive 3D environments.

Uncharted Territories to Explore

Some of the strong use cases we have found for eye tracking in VR are:

  • Foveated Rendering, where eye tracking helps to increase rendering performance significantly, or increase graphical fidelity.
  • Social and Multiplayer Experiences, where eye tracking helps you, other players, and NPCs to come alive, and enables you to express yourself realistically while NPCs respond to you much more naturally.
  • User Interfaces, that can be used with eye tracking to enable effortless menu navigation.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination, where eye tracking can improve the experience or give users superpowers.

There are many more unexplored territories out there as well as room to take existing use cases further.