The enthusiasm surrounding Sony’s booth at the Game Developers Conference may be pointed squarely at its Project Morpheus virtual reality headset, but the platform holder also has a nifty innovation on display behind closed doors. Previously announced during the PlayStation 4’s launch livestream last year, eye-tracking technology is currently in active development at the platform holder’s Magic Lab research and development department – and it actually works.
In the embedded video, The Verge editor Sean Hollister goes, er, eyes-on with a special demo of inFAMOUS: Second Son that allows you to control the game by moving your optics. The setup’s using a custom camera and software from SensoMotoric Instruments, which prompts you to calibrate your gaze with the game, and then allows you to peer at different parts of the screen in order to adapt your view of the scene.
Apparently, this can make it quite difficult to keep the in-game camera still, but actually targeting foes works like a dream. Even more excitingly, the manufacturer reckons that it’ll eventually be able to shrink down the technology in order to get it inside a headset such as Project Morpheus, meaning that developers could potentially add to the device’s sense of presence by faking graphical features such as depth of field depending on where you’re looking.
While we don’t expect this to become a viable control method anytime soon, it’s neat that the manufacturer’s experimenting with it. We just can’t help but worry what kind of strain all of these innovations are going to put on our already bloodshot eyes. You may want to book an appointment with your nearest optician before diving headfirst into an hour-long session with an eye-tracking enhanced virtual reality game.