EyeAsteroids by Tobii offers eye tracking controls

arcadehero November 9, 2011 4

Newsfeed 1133 via The Stinger Report

The arcade has been home to the initial appearance of many new interface technologies in the past and once again a new game is about to add to that line-up. A Swedish company called Tobii has developed a system capable of tracking your eye movements to control the game and the first game to debut using the technology is called EyeAsteroids. It is currently found at the Dave & Busters in Times Square as of yesterday, where it will be located for the next couple of weeks before heading off to London. As you can see above, the cabinet has a nice old school flavor to it.  In the game you are Earth and you have to look at the oncoming rocks to blast them with a laser. Power-ups are also found in the game to enhance the action and you can move Earth around by moving your body. The reaction time offered by the eyes is much faster than hand controls. I certainly wonder what other applications could be created for the arcade scene using this kind of technology.

Tobii has produced a limited run of 50 units which they will be selling for $15,000 each for commercial or private use. Too bad it’s that high, it does make me curious to know how well it does on location. There’s more to see here on Tobii’s website.


4 Comments »

  1. chaos November 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Eye tracking is actually pretty old technology. A couple of the arcades close to my house use to be the test locations for Atari Games. One of the arcades was a Tilt location and they had a prototype version of Vapor TRX back in 1997 or 1998:

    http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=10295

    The gameplay is a lot like Midway’s Hydro Thunder and Artic Thunder and I wouldn’t doubt Vapor TRX inspired both of these games. Instead of the traditional sit down version with a raster monitor and the motorcycle straddle type seat, it was more of like an open cockpit with a sitdown type seat and a large projection screen.

    After you started the game it would do a quick calibration to track your eyes. Unfortunately I don’t remember the specifics of how your eyes controlled the game. I had only played it once and it was only on test for a short period.

    I did meet an ex-Atari employee at one point and had asked Scott Evans who now owns the domain of atarigames.com if they knew what had happened to the prototype. Both of them told me that Vapor TRX didn’t do so well the production numbers were very low so this probably sealed the fate of the eyetracking technology. They confirmed that the prototype unit was dismantled so there’s little to no chance we will probably see this surface anywhere.

    • arcadehero November 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      I’ve come across Vapor TRX before but I didn’t try it. I had no idea it had eye tracking technology, unless that was just in the prototype version you mention. Thanks for the info!

      • chaos November 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm - Reply

        Yes only the prototype version had the eye tracking technology. To my knowledge there was only one of these prototype units. The regular version uses a yoke type controller with triggers and thumb buttons to fire. I tried doing muliple searches on Google hoping to find something on the prototype version but I couldn’t find anything.

        I’m also interested in how EyeAsteroid will do considering the units are $15k each. I don’t know too many arcades or FECs that can justify the cost for such a simple game. I do hope the technology is used in another games. The obvious choice would be a FPS type game.

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