Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 11:21 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, amd, raven ridge, 2500U, APU, Intel, xeon-d, dell, EPYC, vaunt, Tobii
PC Perspective Podcast #486 - 02/08/18
Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including AMD Mobile APUs, new Xeon-D processors, EPYC offerings from Dell, and more!
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Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:16:53
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:27:45 Dell's Epyc package
Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 05:53 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: VR, virtual reality, Tobii, htc vive, eye tracking, CES 2018, CES
Last month in Tobii's suite at CES I was given a demonstration of a prototype VR headset that looked like any other HTC Vive - except for the ring of Tobii eye-tracking sensors inside and around each lens. While this might seem like a bit of an odd concept at first I was patient as the benefits were explained to me, and then blown away when I actually tried it myself.
As you know, if you have used a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, the basic mechanics of VR interaction involve pointing your head in the direction you want to look, reaching with your hand (and controller) to point to an object, and then pressing a button on the controller to act. I will be completely honest here: I don't like it. After a little while the fatigue and general unnatural feeling of rapid, bird-like head movements kills whatever enthusiasm I might have for the experience, and I was the last person to give high praise to a new VR product. HOWEVER, I will attempt to explain why simply adding eye tracking actually made the entire experience 1000 times better (for me, anyway).
When I put on the prototype headset, the only setup I had to do was quickly follow a dot in my field of vision as it moved up/down/left/right, like a vision test for a driver's license. That's the entire calibration process, and with that out of the way I was suddenly able to look around without moving my head, which made the head movements when they followed feel completely natural. I would instinctively look up, or to the side, with my head following when I decided to focus attention on that area. The amount of physical head movements was reduced to normal, human levels, which alone prevented me from feeling sick after a few minutes. Of course, this was not the only demonstrated feature of the integrated eye-tracking, and if you are familiar with Tobii you will know what's next.
This looks primitive, but it was an effective demo of the eye-tracking integration
The ability of the headset to know exactly where you are looking allows you to aim based on your line of sight if the game implements it, and I tried some target practice (throwing rocks at glass bottles in the demo world) and it felt completely natural. After launching a few rocks at distant bottles I instantly decided that this should be the mechanic of fantastic VR football video game - that I could throw at different receivers just by looking them down.
I also received a demo of simulated AR integration (still within the VR world), and a demo of what eye-tracking adds to a home theater experience - and it was pretty convincing. I could scroll around and select movie titles from an interface by simply looking around, and within the VR world it was as if I was looking up at a big projection screen. Throughout the different demos I kept thinking about how much more natural everything felt when I wasn't constantly moving my head around and pointing at things with my controller.
Finally, there was another side to everything I experienced - and it might have been the most interesting thing from a PC enthusiast perspective: if the VR headset can track your focus, the GPU doesn't have to render anything else at full resolution. That alone could make this something of a breakthrough addition to the current VR headset space, as performance is very expensive (even before the mining craze) and absolutely necessary for a smooth, high frame-rate experience. After 45 minutes with the headset on, I felt totally fine - and that was a change.
So what is the takeaway from all this? I'm just an editor who had a meeting with Tobii at CES, and I walked out of the meeting with a couple of business cards and nothing else. I admit that I am a VR skeptic who went into the meeting with no expectations. And I still left thinking it was the best product I saw at the show.
More information and media about the CES demos are available from Tobii on their CES blog post.
Acer Predator Z271T With Tobii Eye Tracking
It seems like it's never been a better time to be a PC gamer. With new technologies like VR, AR, HDR, adaptive sync, and high refresh rates being introduced or improved upon at a rapid pace, there's always something new and exciting right around the corner.
Today, we're taking a look at one new technology that promises to bridge the gap between traditional monitors and full-blown VR or AR setups: eye tracking. Originally developed for its use as an assistive device for users with disabilities, eye tracking is making a big jump to gaming, as it can both provide an additional method of control input as well as alter the way the user experiences the game.
We first took a look at Tobii a few years ago with an early standalone eye tracking device. Now Tobii eye tracking is starting to make its way directly into monitors, and we spent some time with one such monitor: the Acer Predator Z271T.
Specs & Box Contents
The Acer Predator Z271T -- which I'll refer to as "Z27" going forward -- is a $700 27-inch monitor with a curved VA panel, 1920x1080 native resolution, and 144Hz refresh rate. The complete technical specifications:
|Acer Predator Z271T|
|Panel Technology||Vertical Alignment (VA)|
|Tilt Angle||-5 to +25 degrees|
|Viewing Angle||178 degrees horizontal/vertical|
|Maximum Adjustable Height||4.72 inches|
|Standard Refresh Rate||144 Hz|
|Color Supported||16.7 Million|
|Tearing Prevention Technology||G-SYNC|
|Speakers||2 x 7W|
|3.5mm Audio Output||Yes|
|USB 3.0||Yes (4-port hub)|
|Operating Power Consumption||27 watts|
|Standby Power Consumption||500 mW|
|Off-Mode Power Consumption||400 mW|
|Physical Characteristics (with stand)|
|VESA Mount Compatible||Yes (100mm x 100mm)|
|Package Contents||1 x DisplayPort cable
1 x HDMI cable
1 x USB 3.0 Cable
In terms of physical characteristics, the Z27 weighs in at 16.76lbs and is 20.4-inches high, 24.4-inches wide, and 10.6-inches deep when attached to its included stand. From the stand, the Z27 can tilt from -5 degrees to 25 degrees, and swivel up to 30 degrees side-to-side.
Subject: Mobile | July 28, 2017 - 03:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: alienware, Alienware 13 R3, oled, 1440p, gtx 1060, Tobii
Alienware is continuing to provide impressive hardware in their high end laptops, along with a price tag to match. The new R3 model contains impressive hardware, a Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB DDR4-2400MHz, a GTX 1060 and a 256GB Toshiba XG3 NVMe. Those components are not what makes this laptop stand out however, it is the 1440p OLED touch screen and Tobii Aware eye tracking software which make this laptop interesting. Kitguru did have some issues with the screen brightness adjusting during usage however "the OLED screen is absolutely amazing." Check out the review but remember, if you have to ask you can't afford it.
"Thankfully the review sample we were sent by Alienware is the Big Kahuna with the OLED screen and a mighty QHD resolution of 2,560×1,440 which is a heck of a lot of pixels packed into a 13.3-inch screen. The screen brightness is 400 nits and it has touch control."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 @ TechARP
- Gigabyte Aero 15W-CF2 @ Kitguru
- The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet & S Pen @ TechARP
- Huawei P10 @ Techspot
- OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew @ The Register
- OnePlus 5 @ Techspot
Subject: Displays | August 31, 2016 - 01:44 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z271T, XB271HUT, XB251HQT, Tobii, Predator, montior, gaming, g-sync, eye-tracking, display, curved, acer, 240Hz, 165hz, 144hz
Acer has announced three new G-Sync gaming monitors, all of which come equipped with eye-tracking technology from Tobii. The displays announced range from 24.5" to 27" in size, with refresh rates ranging up to 240 Hz.
Acer Predator Z271T
"Each new monitor features NVIDIA G-SYNC and high refresh rates for smooth gaming experiences without lag. The new Predator gaming monitors are available in different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of a wide range of users looking to take their gaming experiences forward."
- Predator Z271T: 27”, curved screen (1800R curvature), FHD 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz)
- Predator XB251HQT: 24.5”, flat ZeroFrame screen, FHD 1920 x 1080, 240 Hz)
- Predator XB271HUT: 27”, flat ZeroFrame screen, WQHD 2560 x 1440, 165 Hz)
Acer Predator XB271HUT
The Z271T is the sole curved display option, offering an 1800 radius curve and standard 1920x1080 resolution at 144 Hz. The flat-paneled versions provide a choice between very high refresh rates (240 Hz with the 1920x1080 XB251HQT) and higher resolution (2560x1440 at 165 Hz from the XB271HUT).
Acer Predator XB251HQT back, side view
U.S. pricing and availablity have not been announced.
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2016 - 07:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, Tobii, EyeX, eye tracking
The Tobii EyeX eye-tracking controller is a small USB 3.0 device which fastens to the bottom of your monitor, more or less permanently, to allow you to control some games and programs with your eyes. The reviewer at The Tech Report discovered something unique about himself while conducting this review, while the five people he had try the EyeX the setup was flawless and easy, however his own eyes proved quite problematic. An upgrade to his glasses seems to have mostly mitigated the issue, however it might be worth remembering if you pick one up and have issues during calibration.
Once the EyeX was set up it worked in game, with some small issues which were not game breaking. Of more interest is the final page of the review, combining the EyeX with the Gazespeaker software form a potent duo to help those who have difficulties communicating in other ways. If you play games which benefit from eyetracking or know of someone who could benefit from Gazespeaker you should check out the full review.
"Tobii's EyeX eye-tracking controller promises to add more interactivity to some games by letting players take over certain in-game actions using nothing but the direction of their gaze. We spent some eyes-on time with the EyeX to see how it works."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master Sentinel III @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte XM300 Gaming Mouse Review @HiTech Legion
- Bloody ML160 Commander @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S @ eTeknix
- COUGAR Attack X3 Mechanical @ NikKTech
- QPAD MK-90 RGB Pro Gaming @ eTeknix
Subject: Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2016 - 10:16 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Tobii, notebook, msi, laptop, GT72S G Tobii, gaming laptop, g-sync, eye-tracking
MSI has released their GT72S G Tobii gaming notebook (first announced way back at Computex), which features NVIDIA G-Sync and eye-tracking technology that promises a more immersive gameplay experience.
“The world’s most advanced gaming laptop, the GT72S G Tobii with eye-tracking technology immerses gamers into a hands-free dimension by allowing them to switch targets in a game, select objects on the floor or even automatically pause a game by simply focusing or looking away.
Available immediately, MSI’s GT72S G Tobii will be bundled with Tom Clancy’s The Division and currently supports a variety of gaming titles, including Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, ArmA III, Elite Dangerous and more.”
Ryan took a look at the laptop at CES, and the video is imbedded below:
So how does the eye-tracking work?
“By going through a 15-second set-up process, users can securely log into their computers using a personalized glance; highlight, select or delete items with one look; seamlessly zoom and center maps without scrolling; and even sift through Windows, folders and its applications without lifting a finger.”
The notebook boasts some impressive specs, including:
- Tobii Eye Tracking Technology
- 17.3" Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display
- 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6820HK (2.70 GHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 8 GB GDDR5
- 32 GB Memory
- 256 GB SSD (PCIe Gen3 x4)
- 1 TB HDD
- BD Burner
- Killer Networking
- Dimensions: 16.85" x 11.57" x 2.30"; 8.50 lbs
The GT72S G Tobii retails for $2599.99 and is now available with an exclusive launch at Newegg.com, and the laptop includes a free copy of Tom Clancy: The Division.