Tobii lands former Intel PC chip VP to push eye tracking mainstream

Can Tobii and Srivatsa make eye tracking as ubiquitous as a laptop's touchpad?

Tobii Eye Tracking - VR
Tobii

Eye-tracking tech provider Tobii said Monday that it has named Anand Srivatsa, the former vice president of Intel’s Client Computing Group, as Tobii Technology’s new chief executive. 

Tobii Technology is the consumer-oriented division of the larger Tobii Group, which also has two other divisions. Srivatsa’s role will be to bring Tobii’s eye-tracking technology to new PCs and consumer devices. Henrik Eskilsson, CEO of the Tobii Group, took over the duties of chief executive of Tobii Technology temporarily and will hand the reins to Srivatsa on August 12, and return to running the Tobii Group.

Tobii said that they hired Srivatsa because he essentially performed the same role at Intel: leading the Client Computing Group, Srivatsa worked with PC markers to ensure design wins with Intel chipsets and processors. Srivatsa will be responsible for working with those same customers to build in Tobii’s eye tracking, too.

tobii 4c eye tracker Mark Hachman / IDG

Tobii’s 4C eye tracker was a standalone peripheral.

Tobii started working with PC makers and game makers several years ago, originally building PC peripherals that could “watch” your eyes, interpret where you were looking, and move a mouse cursor accordingly. These early versions of the “eye mouse” worked, though performance varied by eye shape and color. Over time, Tobii began working with manufacturers of gaming PCs to build the Tobii eye tracking technology right inside the laptop chassis itself. Meanwhile, Microsoft began to support eye tracking within Windows as an assistive technology, then debuted four eye-tracking games to help developers familiarize themselves with the capabilities. As that went on, Tobii began promoting eye tracking as a technology that could be used within virtual reality.

Srivatsa will undoubtedly be asked to continue pushing this trend forward, expanding eye tracking into more and more laptops as well as other consumer devices, which—who knows?—could one day include phones, TVs, and cars. 

Tobii Eye Tracking - VR Tobii

The next frontier for Tobii is virtual reality, executives have said. 

“There is a tremendous opportunity to improve how computers and other devices interact with humans, and eye-tracking technology will profoundly change the human computer interaction landscape,” Srivatsa said in a statement. 

  
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