Eye tracking in VR for business and research

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.

How eye tracking in VR works

VR content

360-degree Content

Tobii Pro Glasses 2 used in the operation room

The first step in immersive VR research is creating a virtual world. VR environment design and functionality varies a lot depending on your project type and what you want to achieve. If you're planning a browsing study looking at visual strategies, it would be sufficient to create 360-degree content with your stimuli. 360-degree images and videos are relatively easy and inexpensive to create, yet still provide the sensation of being able to visually explore the situation.

3D Content

medical 3D

If you want to learn how users interact with your stimuli and navigate within your scenario, then 3D environments are more suitable. They allow more flexibility and control over the environment, which enables you to create any type of situation and alternatives. If you've already invested in Unity assets, our tools can be integrated into your existing environments.

Here are 5 tips on how to create the best virtual reality environment for your research. If you need assistance with this, our Tobii Pro Insight team is available to help you evaluate your analysis goals and create virtual environments through their wide network of content creators.

VR headsets with eye tracking

Eye tracking in VR for business and research

Eye tracking delivers truly immersive research opportunities. To gain objective and reliable insights into human behavior you need to use high-quality eye tracking data in your analysis. The HTC VIVE Pro Eye with built-in Tobii eye tracking is now on the market combining precision eye tracking with world-class graphics, high-end audio, and optimized ergonomics. 

Data analysis

VR and eye tracking is a powerful combination which has greatly expanded the scope of research opportunities available; but to fully leverage its value it's crucial to properly analyze the data obtained. If you work with 360-degree assets, Tobii Pro Lab VR 360 edition will support your entire research workflow from study design and data collection, to the comprehensive analysis of your data including essential eye tracking metrics and visualization outputs. It's also possible to use this software in conjunction with GSR sensors to get even more data on emotional responses to your stimuli. If you work with 3D content, contact our Tobii Pro Insight team.


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 with HTC Vive Pro Eye used in shopper research

”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 with HTC Vive Pro Eye used to train logistics operators at a warehouse

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

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 Lab VR 360

Tobii Pro Lab VR 360 is an edition of Tobii Pro Lab; a state-of-the-art software platform which enables eye tracking data collection from 360-degree videos and images. This edition supports the entire research workflow including study design, data collection, and analysis, while maintaining precise and consistent timing accuracy and data quality. It's also possible to combine GSR sensors to analyze the emotional experiences attached to your study stimuli.

Learn more about Pro Lab VR 360.

Tobii Pro Lab VR 360 software user interface
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.

Customer Cases and Blog Articles

How the HTC VIVE Pro Eye helps shape the future of VR and eye tracking

What the advent of eye tracking in commercially available VR headsets means for business. Read more

Why you can’t afford to ignore VR analytics

The combination of eye tracking and VR can uncover the factors that drive human attention across an unlimited number of hypothetical scenarios. In this post we explore a few of them and how VR analytics will change the way we conduct studies today. Read more

Understanding autism with eye tracking

An Australian teen is developing games using VR and eye tracking to encourage a more inclusive world for people with autism. Read more

Fields of Use

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