Google Glass and other smartglasses all suffer from the same problem: The average consumer thinks that smartglasses, like most wearables, are useless toys. Swedish company Tobii wants to attack this problem head on with research. Its new Tobii Glass 2 are intended for researchers, in hopes that collecting real-life gaze data will help improve eye tracking software, which in turn, will convince customers that smartglasses are worth wearing.
Tobii showed off its eye tracking software at CES a year ago. Since then, the company has been hard at work improving its software. Its first pair of smartglasses may not have looked too hot, but the eye tracking software used was top notch. Tobii Glasses 2 are much more simple, lightweight, and attractive than that first model, and they work better.
The glasses weigh just 45 grams and while they may not look as gorgeous as the new Google Glass frames, the Tobii glasses are fully functional. The glasses can capture gaze data in HD at 1080p. Researchers can even track the user’s eye movements in real time. The glasses feature a recording apparatus, which saves user gaze data to a memory card and links to the Tobii Glasses Controller Software for further analysis.
The main idea behind the new Tobii glasses is to accurately record data, which can then be used to improve the eye tracking software for real life use. Tobii has a vision for the future of smartglasses that can be used by customers in the grocery store or at Best Buy, athletes practicing for a big competition, or drivers navigating a new route. Tobii also hopes that eye tracking software can be used in simulators, advertising, social research, and other unforeseen situations in the future.
“Over the past four years, we have witnessed incredible new discoveries in shopper marketing, behavioral science and usability research that had not been possible before Tobii Glasses,” Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America said in a statement. “Tobii Glasses 2 offers a number of new features that will advance wearables significantly in all these fields but also open up a multitude of new research applications, providing a higher degree of ease of use, efficiency, flexibility and unobtrusiveness.”
Of course, since the Tobii glasses are intended for research only, hardware, and software packages cost a pretty penny, with prices ranging from $15,000 to $30,000. Tobii also offers a Premium Analytics package for $800 a month to supplement the basic packages. Even though Tobii Glasses 2 aren’t meant for the consumer, they might just change the way smartglasses are used in the future.