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Who needs gestures? Tobii’s eye-tracking sensor returns to CES

Tobii, maker of eye-tracking sensors for desktops, laptops, and tablets, was one of the darlings at last year’s show. Everyone wanted to try their demo, which let users scroll through documents and move units in Starcraft 2 with nothing more than a glance, and the planned release of a consumer product in fall 2013 was highly anticipated.

That product never came to be, however, as the company found it had to further cut costs and refine its development kit to make an appealing consumer device. If CES is any indication, the delay hasn’t dampened anticipation for Tobii’s first retail product. The company’s booth was, if any, busier this year than last.

The demo reel shown by the company hasn’t changed much over the last year, but several new games were available to test with the device. This is more than just an attempt to catch eyes on the show floor, as the company has partnered with PC gaming peripheral giant SteelSeries to sell a retail version of its sensor this summer.

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Exact details of the device are sketchy, but Tobii’s reps hint that it would look similar to products on the show floor, and may be priced in the neighborhood of $200. That’s a lot, but far less than the $995 price attached to the development kit at last year’s show. 

A list of supported games hasn’t been released, but we’re told the drivers and software that ship with the final SteelSeries device will determine support. This means the device will work with some games already on the market. Tobii also informed us that future games could make support native with the company’s SDK.

The other news revealed at this year’s show is the release of a revised development kit that will ship in March and sell for $195. Act fast and you can cut away half that price; the company is accepting pre-orders for $95 if you use the coupon code “CES2014.”

Tobii showed a few other concepts, including a laptop and BenQ gaming monitor with its sensor built-in. Both are not retail products, however, and the company currently has no plan to release a consumer device on its own.  We’ll have to wait until the summer debut of the SteelSeries eye-tracker to see Tobii’s technology work away from the show floor.