Tobii Pro VR integration for eye tracking research in virtual environments

Virtual Reality

Eye tracking in VR reveals what is behind an individual's subconscious reactions and behaviors when interacting with objects and environments, all while leveraging the full control and flexibility of virtual worlds.

Why combine eye tracking with VR?

When working with eye tracking in VR, you are able to leverage the benefits of both technologies. VR allows you to create any type of simulated environment, where visual stimuli and scenarios can be quickly switched or easily repeated, while eye tracking gives you insights into where the participant's visual attention is at each moment of the experience and what visual elements trigger certain responses and behaviors.

Eye tracking can also enhance VR experiences. By enabling more natural interactions through gaze, eye tracking contributes to more immersive and user-friendly experiences in VR.

How to get started

To benefit from eye tracking technology in a virtual world, there are three components that need to be in place: VR content, an eye tracking-enabled VR headset, and analysis software.

Virtual Reality

Medical 3D environment

The first step in the immersive VR research process is creating a virtual world. VR environment design and functionality varies a lot depending on your project needs and the goals you want to achieve with it. If you have already invested in Unity-based 3D assets, our tools can be integrated into your worlds. Otherwise, the Tobii Pro Insight research team is available to evaluate your analysis goals and create virtual environments through their wide network of content creators.

Eye tracking

Eye tracking is the key to truly immersive research. To gain objective and reliable insights into human behavior, you need to use high-quality eye tracking data in your analysis. In order to bring our years of eye tracking knowledge into VR, we created the Tobii Pro VR Integration, an eye tracking-enabled HTC Vive headset that collects eye movement data at 120 Hertz. Seamlessly integrated and unobtrusive, this integration does not interfere with the VR experience.

Data Analysis

With a virtual environment and eye tracking from Tobii Pro, the only step left is to analyze the actual data. Using data enabled by the Pro VR Integration, Tobii Pro VR Analytics provides instant access to an individual's attention and behavior patterns while they are completely immersed in VR. Eye tracking metrics, interaction measures, and automated visualizations are easy to understand and customize for your project needs.

We have written some blog articles on this topic that might provide you with information to help you get started with eye tracking studies in VR:

Application areas

Understand the consumer journey

With eye tracking in VR, basically, every stage of the consumer journey can be tested in a more timely and cost-efficient manner compared to traditional physical study environments. Advertisers can now test their communication campaigns before they hit the market to make sure that the intended perception of their messages actually gets through to the shopper. In a virtual store, product packaging designs, product placements, and even store layouts can be easily evaluated and then further optimized. The instant eye tracking statistics and visualizations will show how consumer attention is distributed, how they interact with products, and how they navigate stores.

Tobii Pro VR Analytics for eye tracking studies in virtual 3D environments

”When our clients make an investment to communicate their brand message or launch a new product, they want to see the effect before the production stage. To ensure campaigns have the intended effect, we collaborate with Tobii Pro to test the content in VR and to conduct post-test measurements of the visual and emotional experience in the virtual world”

Caroline Roth, Warpin´ Media
Tobii Pro VR Analytics for eye tracking studies in virtual 3D environments

Cost-effectively test products before production

In virtual environments, existing products and designs, as well as new ones in the early development stages, can be tested without the need to build the actual expensive and time-consuming prototypes. Eye tracking will clearly reveal how people interact with products, navigate spaces, and perceive different design elements.

Designers and engineers can now have people all over the world testing a new concept, design, or a product, while receiving immediate and actionable insights into any usability or experience issues.

“Using eye tracking within a VR environment helps us to better understand how people navigate around a space, see what they actually look at, and how their attention is drawn to different design interventions we make. This is so much more powerful than relying on our own intuition about what does and doesn’t work.”

David Watts, Managing Director CCD Design & Ergonomics

Efficiently train staff in complex jobs

In complex work environments and safety-critical jobs, eye tracking in VR provides insight into how employees react under pressure and make operational decisions in simulated work scenarios or emergency situations.

Using immersive VR in industrial settings, companies can train employees in realistic, challenging scenarios and test different processes, discovering immediately how their teams cope with the tasks and interact with their work environment. In safety-critical fields, like surgery or piloting aircraft, assessing and developing professional skills is easier, less dangerous, and more cost efficient by avoiding recreating these high-pressure scenarios in a real-world environment.

Tobii Pro VR Analytics for eye tracking studies in virtual 3D environments

Study phobia and anxiety without risky exposure

One way to treat phobias or PTSD is by exposing the patient to an object or situation that they are afraid of. However, in many cases, this exposure can be quite dangerous, difficult to recreate, or impossible to control in the real world.

With VR, it is possible to create any research environment while controlling the manner and timing that the participant is exposed to a specific visual stimulus. Eye tracking enables gaze-controlled scenarios and provides you with unbiased, immediate insight into how your visual stimuli trigger certain emotional responses. With this knowledge, related virtual scenarios can be created and easily repeated for more effective treatment protocols.

“In my psychology research with eye tracking inside of VR, I know exactly what my study participants are looking at and what emotional responses are triggered by the visual stimuli.”

William Hamilton, researcher and developer at Stockholm University

If you are interested in VR for research applications, sign up below to get the latest news about our VR offering, interesting new applications, and innovative use cases from the immersive research field.

Products and services

Tobii is a key player for eye tracking in VR with the world's strongest eye tracking (IP) patent portfolio, extensive both screen-based and wearable eye tracking experience, and a technology that is widely considered to work for more people, in more conditions, with better accuracy and precision than any other eye tracker.

Tobii Pro VR Integration

The Tobii Pro VR Integration is a retrofitted version of the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD). Completely and seamlessly integrated with the eye tracking cameras hidden behind the lenses, it captures eye tracking data at 120 Hz from a vast majority of the world’s population, without interfering with the normal VR user experience.

Learn more about the Pro VR Integration.

Tobii Pro VR Integration based on HTC Vive HMD for behavioral research
Tobii Pro VR Analytics for eye tracking studies in VR

Tobii Pro VR Analytics

Tobii Pro VR Analytics is a software tool that enables eye tracking data collection and analysis in fully controlled VR environments. Easily integrated in your existing or new Unity asset, it provides objective and instants analytics on a range of human behaviors, including automated visualizations and analytics for interaction and gaze data.

Learn more about Pro VR Analytics.

Tobii Pro SDK

The Tobii Pro SDK is a free software development kit for analytical applications to work with eye tracking solutions from Tobii integrated into virtual reality. It offers multiple-platform functionality and support for several programming languages. Learn more about the Pro SDK.

A person sitting in front of a computer and working with Matlab software application.
Tobii Pro VR Analytics is used for consumer journey testing with eye tracking in VR environments

Tobii Pro Insight

Our experienced Tobii Pro Insight team helps the world's top commercial brands better understand how their products and services can best engage with their audiences by running pre-production tests in virtual worlds in order to measure the effect of brand messaging.

Apart from the full-service eye tracking research, Pro Insight also offers VR content creation in 3D worlds, 36o° images, and video through their extensive network of content partners.

Depending on your needs, they will help you choose the appropriate tools and methods to perform your study. To make it easier to get started, Pro Insight can conduct your VR eye tracking study for you.

Cases

Virtual reality with eye tracking changes the landscape of market research and beyond

Explorer Research uses eye tracking in VR to address their customers’ most fundamental questions like, how do people interact with their products? What elements of the package attracts attention? And much more. Read more. Read more

Fields of Use

Marketing and Consumer Research

Eye tracking is a unique method to objectively measure consumers' attention and spontaneous responses to marketing messages. These insights help marketers to effectively design communication to catch the shopper's eye. Read more

Professional Performance

Eye tracking technology lets you see your business through the eyes of your employees, providing a better understanding of their work environment and human factors influencing their performance.   Read more

Psychology and Neuroscience

Eye tracking is used in different fields of psychology and neuroscience to understand how and why eye movements are made and how we gather information with our eyes. Read more