Until now, low cost eye trackers were only available if you pieced together a DIY system from off-the-shelf parts and combined it with open source software. Earlier this month, however, Denmark-based startup Eye Tribe announced an eye tracking hardware accessory and SDK for $99.
Eye Tribe’s initial strategy is to target developers by getting the SDK in the hands of programmers who can begin developing eye tracking apps for Windows tablets and PCs (with Android and iOS versions to follow in 2014). The second phase of their strategy is to partner with large consumer electronics manufacturers for direct hardware integration.
This is just the catalyst the eye tracking industry has been waiting for. Long gone will be the days of $10,000 eye tracking systems only available to large corporations or researchers with significant grant dollars. As prices drop for eye tracking hardware and software, it will become more accessible to a wide range of users. Increased availability and interest in eye tracking will ignite a flurry of activity among the developer community as a new breed of apps enhanced by eye tracking emerges.
This will not only increase awareness of eye tracking among the general population, but will also increase demand for eye tracking technology in a host of consumer electronics, from phones and tablets to wearables like Google Glass and other head mounted displays.
Eye Tribe’s strategy
Eye Tribe’s strategy is certainly set to disrupt giants like Tobii and SMI whose eye trackers sell for thousands of dollars. It will be interesting to see how established companies adjust their strategies to adapt to the rapidly evolving competitive environment in the eye tracking industry. It will also be exciting to see what applications the developer community comes up with in response to more easily accessible eye tracking technology. If you could get access to an eye tracker for $99, would you buy it, and what would you do with it?