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Tobii Eye Tracker 4C hands-on: Mousing with your eyes has surprising potential for gaming

Mark Hachman | Dec. 20, 2016
Eye tracking is a luxury not everyone needs, but when it works, it works.

Otherwise, dubbing the 4C an “eye mouse” is a pretty accurate term. The software allows you to look at a point on the screen, then “teleport” your cursor to that spot, just by twitching your mouse or touchpad. You can also “teleport and click” by tapping a user-configurable key. 

As before, the 4C’s accuracy seemingly varies by eye, though I found it slightly better than the EyeX. While browsing, the most effective way of using it (as Tobii has recommended) is to slightly twitch your hand, letting the 4C do the “work” of moving across the screen. You’ll have to check boxes and tweak sliders to make decisions on whether to allow the 4C to teleport only if you twitch your hand in the direction you want it to go, as well as configure the size of the “dead zone” around the cursor beyond which eye tracking is active. It’s really a matter of trial and error, and determining what works best for you.

Still, many of the limitations of Tobii’s eyeX remain. The 4C operates on only one monitor at a time. If you have multiple monitors, it won’t teleport the cursor from one to the next—you’ve got to swipe, swipe, swipe, just like the other peons. Although the device can adjust for eyes wearing contact lenses and glasses, its accuracy may be affected by bifocals or very strong prescriptions.

Tobii Eye Tracker 4C  

Like the EyeX, Tobii has added small white guide marks at the top to help properly align it.

Somewhat ironically, the 4C seems to work best in conjunction with a notebook trackpad, as you can leave your fingers on their proper keys while trailing a finger over the trackpad to move the cursor. But beware you don’t absent-mindedly close your notebook on the sensor bar—crunch! You’re probably better off using it with a desktop monitor, even if you have to take your fingers off your keyboard to move your mouse. Then again, you may be left chewing on the fact that you’ve paid over $150 to save yourself a few swipes.

Thankfully, that’s not the only reason to buy the 4C. After hours, the gizmo transforms from a somewhat average productivity aide into a sidekick for gaming.

The Eye Tracker 4C: An intriguing gaming peripheral

When I previously reviewed the EyeX, I wasn’t especially impressed with the performance as a gaming peripheral. After using it with two modern games, my opinion improved. 

For gaming, Tobii recommends you download its Infinite Screen Extension, a rather nifty gaming utility that begins to “turn” your player’s perspective as your eyes wander near the edge. Naturally, Tobii’s software works best when specifically supported by a game—the Extension software lists 10 titles with game-specific options. 

 

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