In the world of virtual reality, there has been a lot of focus on head tracking. It is an incredibly challenging aspect of VR to get right, that much is evident. However, developers and manufacturers need to be aware of gaze control as well. This is not the same as eye tracking by any means, though. Gaze control and eye tracking are not mutually exclusive, but there are some key differences.
Gaze Control Helps With VR Navigation
In the real world, we are used to navigating our surroundings in a specific manner. This happens subconsciously, mind you, but it is certainly present. When we can’t recreate this degree of navigation in virtual reality, things are quite problematic. This is why so many developers pay close attention to gaze control, as it helps in creating an immersive and realistic VR environment.
More specifically, gaze control revolves around tracking the direction of one’s neck and head. For example, if our neck is slightly inclined to one side, the VR vision should shift to the same angle. We can also stretch our neck to look over something without standing up straight, for example. Ensuring these movements translate into a way to navigate the virtual environment is of the utmost importance.
This is not the same as head tracking, even though it appears to be very similar on paper. Head tracking revolves around ensuring consistency between one’s eyeline and visuals. Gaze control, on the other hand, allows players to select an item from a menu or interact with the environment with minimal neck and head gestures. A simple nod to confirm an in-menu action, for example, can be achieved by properly implementing gaze control.
Most high-end VR headsets are more than capable of providing gaze control right now. Even the Samsung Gear VR provides this functionality, which is much appreciated by mobile VR enthusiasts. It is evident gaze control is an aspect developers and manufacturers need to pay close attention to moving forward. It is evident this technology will improve the virtual reality experience for everyone involved, regardless of what platform they experience virtual reality on.
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