You might be familiar with motion sensing controller such as Kinect or Leap Motion but how about eye tracking? Truth to be told, both alternative method of computer interactions is still quite niche among consumers (with the exception of game consoles) but that doesn’t stop MSI from exploring the option of having eye tracking capability into its laptop.
With the help of a Swedish company called Tobii Tech through its EyeX technology, MSI has implemented that very feature into a special GT72 Dominator Pro gaming laptop which the company has showcased at its booth during the recent Computex 2015 in Taipei.
MSI claimed that this particular unit which is still in prototype stage is the first gaming laptop in the world to feature an integrated EyeX tracker. While it is interesting to see that MSI choose to walk this path as opposed to a number of laptop manufacturers who pick motion sensing camera instead, the decision doesn’t exactly surprise us though.
Consider this: Tobii is responsible for technology on SteelSeries Sentry eye tracker that the peripherals company announced last year. On another hand, SteelSeries is one of MSI’s major partner which is quite apparent from the logo on MSI gaming laptops. We don’t know for sure but seems like their pathways might have crossed with the help of SteelSeries.
In fact, the integrated eye tracker on the GT72 EyeX prototype at Computex looked almost identical to SteelSeries Sentry, minus its casing. Positioned under the display, the USB 3.0-based tracker contains three infrared sensors that would light up in red colorway when they are in operation.
As expected, one is recommended to calibrate the sensor in order to have optimal experience with EyeX. The calibration is fairly easy: all users have to do is just follow the dot during the calibration process and they can even specify whether the calibration is done with glasses or contact lenses, so that the program is able to adjust the calibration results accordingly.
According to the Tobii’s rep that we talk to at MSI booth, the EyeX technology apparently can be used on 15 games with more to come. One of it is Assassin’s Creed Rogue which was the very game that MSI has used on the prototype laptop to demonstrate the integrated EyeX tracker to visitors.
From our brief experience with it, the tech works quite well as it able to accurately follows wherever our eyes go and the camera angle of the in-game character will then change accordingly without any noticeable lag. Additionally, the game would pause when we glance outside of the screen. However, things become less effective once the pace of the game picks up which clearly showed that eye tracking can only be used in certain context even though the technology is maturing.
At the time being, MSI has yet to decide the release date or pricing for this particular variant of GT72 Dominator Pro gaming laptop. Since a GT72 Dominator Pro already costs between RM 8,999 to RM 11,499 in Malaysia at the moment, it goes without saying that the laptop will most probably carry a hefty price tag.