Breakthrough eye-tracking study gives subjects freedom to roam

Tobii Pro

Using Tobii Pro Glasses 2, ethnographers can observe behavior without influencing it 

STOCKHOLM AND WASHINGTON—June 22, 2015—Thanks to the latest eye-tracking technology, scientists can now see the world through their subjects’ eyes without getting too close.

At the DIVSI Convention last week in Hamburg, researchers from Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation) announced an innovative new study of young people's media consumption habits. The Stiftung Lesen team used eye-tracking glasses from Tobii Pro to explore how Frankfurt residents between the ages of 18 and 24 read, wrote, and interacted with media as they went about their daily business. By wearing the Tobii Pro Glasses 2, Stiftung Lesen’s subjects were able to record their own gaze at home, at work and at school.

Ethnographic studies like Stiftung Lesen’s are increasingly popular ways to gather insights into behavior and culture. Ethnographers observe subjects in their native environment, so they try to be unobtrusive. But in previous eye-tracking studies, researchers needed to be present to collect data and provide technical support, potentially influencing the results.

The Tobii Pro Glasses 2 solve that problem by giving subjects the freedom to gather data on their own. Unlike other eye-tracking glasses, Tobii Pro’s are easy to use and they support uninterrupted recording, making it easy for subjects to collect gaze data over extended periods of time.

The glasses reveal exactly what a person is looking at in real time, allowing the subject to move around freely in any real-world environment. Weighing only 45 grams, they provide unprecedented comfort. Their four-camera eye tracking compensates for slippage and their wide-angle HD camera provides valuable context, including all details and events surrounding the subject or topic at hand.

“Eye tracking is a perfect match for ethnography, but until now, the technology limited what researchers could do,” said Tom Englund, president of Tobii Pro. “With the Tobii Pro Glasses 2, for the first time subjects can autonomously collect gaze data, in any environment. This opens up a wide range of opportunities for ethnographers and other social scientists. The potential academic and commercial uses are endless.”

Exploring media and information consumption behaviors in the new digital age, where content is increasingly abundant and immediately available, it is essential to understand human perception, attention spans and the ability to stay focused.

“Up to now, our research of young people's media consumption has been limited to observing behavior from an outside perspective,” said Dr. Simone C. Ehmig, Stiftung Lesen. “The use of eye tracking now opens up the possibility of measuring authentic behavior from the point of view of the subject. This adds a new perspective and unique insights into how young people perceive their world and behave within it.”

Tobii Pro will host a webinar about the Stiftung Lesen study on July 2. To register, click here.

To view eye tracking videos from the study, click here.

To read the case study, click here.

For more information about Tobii Pro Glasses 2, go to

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Media Contacts:

Anna Bergvall, Marketing & PR Manager, Tobii Pro

+46 70 788 01 77

About Tobii Pro:

A division of Tobii, the global leader in eye-tracking, Tobii Pro is the leading provider of research solutions and services designed to deepen understanding of human behavior. Through eye tracking insights, we enable business and science professionals to drive change and further their research. Our solutions are used in a wide range of fields, ranging from shopper research and usability testing to psychology and vision research. We are proud to have 1,500 academic institutions (including 49 of the world's 50 top-rated universities) and over 2,000 commercial enterprises (including Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Ipsos and GfK) among our clients. Tobii Pro is headquartered in Sweden, with offices in the United States, China, Japan, Germany and France, and has a global network of resellers.