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Tobii EyeAsteroids puts a modern spin on classic arcade game

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November 16, 2011

Eye-tracking and eye control specialist Tobii has given Atari's classic Asteroids arcade g...

Eye-tracking and eye control specialist Tobii has given Atari's classic Asteroids arcade game a modern make-over, with players using only their eyes to aim and shoot at flying rocks to save the world from being smashed to pieces

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When I was a good bit younger, I wasted far too much of my spare time blowing up wave after wave of space rocks - and the occasional flying saucer - trying to get to the flip-over. Atari's most successful game, Asteroids, has now been given a futuristic make-over by eye-tracking and eye control specialist Tobii, developers of the impressive laptop prototype and the stand-alone PCEye system for Windows PCs. Built as a free-standing arcade game, EyeAsteroids players use only their eyes to aim and fire a laser at flying rocks and save the world from impending pulverization.

In Tobii's updated version of Asteroids, the Earth itself is the player's avatar, as opposed to a simple triangular ship, and the game ends if our world sustains too much damage from collisions with missed targets and explodes. The developers say that the world's first eye-controlled arcade game offers a radically different gaming experience to using gamepads or motion controllers, with gameplay benefiting from much faster target location and obliteration than can ever be achieved using more familiar eye/hand coordination. Initial system testers report that there's no noticeable lag between making the decision to destroy and the target asteroid being blown into smaller and smaller pieces.

Housed within the arcade-type frame is a 22-inch display supported by Philips sound box au...

Housed within the arcade-type frame is a 22-inch, 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution HP LE2201W display supported by Philips SPA5300 sound box audio, and a Tobii IS-1-L Eye Tracker. The system runs on Windows 7 Professional edition, is powered by a Core 2 Quad Q8400 processor running at 2.66GHz, and features NVIDIA GF 405 graphics.

Tobii EyeAsteroids began its world tour at Dave & Buster's in New York's Times Square last week, and will see out the end of the month in London ahead of a CES 2012 outing in Las Vegas come January.

The arcade setup is available now for purchase by companies or individuals, although the US$15,000 per unit price tag would lean towards the former. Tobii says that production will be limited to just 50 units, but the game can also be set up for use with a standard computer - this option coming with a 22-inch monitor, Tobii eye tracker and game software.

Developer Frederik Lindh introduces EyeAsteroids in the following video, with a guest cameo from Darth Vader:

Source: Dvice

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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5 Comments

This is great PR but there is a FUNdamental problem in using eye tracking to interact with a game; when the player smiles their eyes become impossible to track: http://thinkeyetracking.com/Blog/?p=1100

Robert Stevens
17th November, 2011 @ 03:20 am PST

Guess it would be cheaper than using mind commands. I tell you what this should be utilsed for, it should be used for people with MS or other limited movement of limbs. Personally, I would like to have a personal robot that I can just look at, and they get me more pizza / beer, do the cleaning, and washing ... WOW!, that would be bliss!

Harpal Sahota
17th November, 2011 @ 08:20 am PST

Kida takes the whole 'eye and hand' cordination out of arcade gaming. So now I just have to look without pushing the 'fire' button? Kinda like playing pinball without hands, just look at the ball...

Pks29733steel
17th November, 2011 @ 10:46 am PST

Harpal, that robot is called a 'girlfriend' Need I say more? ( Better not, on second thoughts! Lol)

windykites1
17th November, 2011 @ 04:13 pm PST

Why limit it to 50 units? Make enough to have one in every arcade in the country, of course at a lower unit cost through higher volume.

Gregg Eshelman
17th November, 2011 @ 10:41 pm PST
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