CES 2021: This app transforms your iPhone into an eye-tracker
CES 2021 kicked off on Monday 11 January with the Press Day, where only members of the media are invited to attend. And among the first announcement to come out of there goes by the name of Eyeware Beam. This is an app that transforms your iPhone into an eye-and-head movement tracker for video games. Needless to say, we found the concept quite interesting.
Developed by a Swiss company Eyeware Tech, the iOS application still remains in closed beta, but it already works with an iPhone or iPad with Face ID (iPhone XS, XR, 11, 11 Pro, iPad Pro or newer) and uses a proprietary 3D eye and head tracking technology.
Basically, Eyeware Beam allows you to broadcast in real-time. When you play a video game, a circle indicating where the player’s gaze is will be focused upon. This eye-tracking trend was fashionable on Twitch a few months ago.
Bringing more depth to gameplays for live players
The idea is to allow streamers and even pro players (the company also targets the eSports market) to show their viewers in real-time how professional gamers aim in-game. Such a preview works wonderfully as a different method to enjoy gameplay on a different level while allowing viewers to check out what is happening on-screen from a different perspective.
In reality, however, the usefulness of such an app for the average smartphone user or gamer (which constitutes most of us out there) would be rather limited or perhaps even non-existent to justify the development and maintenance of the app. Personally, I’m quite hyped about this solution because it could provide more depth to the ways professional gamers play, especially those whom I avidly follow on Twitch or Youtube.
Many professional gamers already broadcast their controls on their respective streams, allowing their viewers to see how they perform this or that manoeuvre and thus deconstruct the player’s actions that would otherwise be imperceptible to the naked eye. I really like this aspect when I’m watching professional player streams on Rocket League.
In the video below, Rocket League pro Squishy Muffinz, shown in real-time and with his on-screen controller on performing a series of techniques specific to the game:
But Eyeware Beam has also found an application for VR (virtual reality) games. The application is based on Apple’s TrueDepth camera technology, using Face ID to enable remote and accurate tracking of the eyes and head.
The app must be used in conjunction with the software on your PC and once the iPhone is paired, the player is ready to broadcast their eyes or play simulation games that track their head movements.
Like VAR or 3D slow motion for football games, I can only see the development of applications like Eyeware Beam has a bright future. Streaming video games has become a form of entertainment in its own right, no matter what its critics might have to say about it.
And allowing viewers to be more involved in the viewing of a game, to understand how the player plays and how he or she thinks enriches an experience that I think outsiders, those who reject it or are not interested in geek culture, may see as a purely passive and mindless activity.
Eyeware Beam is currently in private beta and the team is preparing for a public release. It is possible to join their waiting list to be among the first to know when the application will be released.
What do you think of this application? Do you indulge in a lot of live gameplays that are focused on eSports? Do you think the contributions of an application like Eyeware Beam could improve the viewer’s experience? Let me know in the comments!
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