Seriously cool toys – Tobii mobile eye-tracking glasses, Pivothead HD video-recording eye-wear, and the Affectiva Q-sensor

The Tobii mobile eye-tracking system. Awesome.

The other day I was lucky enough to be able to help out with a bit of data-collection in a well-known London department store, being run by the magnificent Tim Holmes of Acuity Intelligence. This meant that I got to examine some seriously cool bits of new hardware – and new gadgets (especially scientific ones) are basically my kryptonite, so it was generally pretty exciting.

The first thing we used was a mobile eye-tracking system designed and built by Tobii. These have two cameras in – one front-facing to record video of what the participant is looking at, and another infra-red camera to record the participant’s exact eye-position. They can also capture sound in real-time too, and record the eye-tracking data at 30Hz. The system comes with a clip-on box where the data is actually recorded (in the background of the picture on the right) and which is also used for the (fairly brief and painless) initial calibration. It seems like a really great system – the glasses are very light, comfortable and unobtrusive – and could have a really broad range of applications for research, both scientific and marketing-related.

The next cool toy I got to play with was a pair of these:

Pivothead ‘Durango’ HD video-recording glasses. Double awesome.

These are glasses with a camera lens in the centre of the frame (between the eye-lenses) which can record full high-definition video – full 1080p at 30 fps, using an 8Mp sensor. Amazing! They have an 8GB onboard memory which is good for about an hour of recording time, and also have a couple of discreet buttons on the top of the right arm which can be used for taking still pictures in 5-picture burst or 6-picture time-lapse mode. They’re made by a company called Pivothead, and seem to be more intended for casual/recreational/sports use rather than as a research technology (hence the ‘cool’ styling). They’re a reasonably bulky pair of specs, but very light and comfortable, and I don’t think you’d attract much attention filming with them. It’s worth checking out the videos page at their website for examples of what they can do. They’re also only $349 – a lot for a pair of sunglasses, but if you can think of a good use for them, that seems like a snip. If you’re in the UK, they’re also available direct from the Acuity Intelligence website for £299, inc. VAT. I wonder how long it’ll be before they start showing up in law-enforcement/military situations?

The third device I got to geek-out over was one of these little beauties:

The Affectiva mobile, wrist-worn, bluetooth GSR sensor. Triple awesome.

This is a ‘Q-Sensor’, made by a company called Affectiva and is about the size of an averagely chunky wristwatch. It has two little dry-contact electrodes on the back which make contact with the skin on the underside of the wrist, and also contains a 3-axis accelerometer and a temperature sensor. This little baby claims to be able to log skin conductance data (plus data from the other sensors) for 24 hours straight on a single charge, and will even stream the data ‘live’ via Bluetooth to a connected system for on-the-fly analysis. It seems like Affectiva are mainly pitching it as a market research tool, but I can think of a few good ‘proper’ research ideas that this would enable as well. This is seriously cool technology.

That’s all folks – TTFN.


About Matt Wall

I do brains. BRAINZZZZ.

Posted on July 11, 2012, in Cool new tech, Hardware, Software and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. OMG, Can I Haz Mobile Eye tracking!

    The Q-Sensor, maybe good for detecting incoming Panic Attack? Awesome anyway

  2. Awesome blog Matt and thanks for participating in the data collection. The Pivothead Glasses are actually available in the UK direct from Acuity Intelligence for £299 including VAT … of course so are the Q-Sensor and Tobii Glasses too! Contact us for details, or to get a demo, via our website

  3. Been a while, but the good news is the price of the Pivotheads has dropped to £269! Check out a new Bond inspired blog entry on Acuity Intelligence’s page, and if you want to get an extra £10 off, get yourself along to the AI stand G77 at the Ski & Snowboard Show next week and say “hi” – you could even win yourself a set for free!

  4. I do consider all of the ideas you have offered to your post.
    They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for novices. May just you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  5. Heya just came upon your blog via Yahoo after I entered in, “Seriously cool toys” or something similar (can’t quite remember exactly). Anyhow, I’m grateful I found it because your subject material
    is exactly what I’m searching for (writing a university paper) and I hope you don’t mind if I collect some material from here and I will
    of course credit you as the reference. Appreciate it.

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