When eye tracking meets skin sensors, tech knows when you're aroused

A better way to understand your emotions
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Your eyes are great at reading signals, from social cues to dangerous situations to learning information. They're also great at making you feel emotions. You see a scary clown, you're terrified. You see a beautiful person, you're flushed. Other people then see your reactions and adapt to better communicate with you.

Now imagine if technology could track your eyes and then measure your psychological response to those things. The data could be used to not only better understand human behavior but eventually allow virtual and augmented realities adapt to how you're feeling. Thanks to a new partnership between Shimmer and Tobii, it seems like we're well on our way. Shimmer's GSR+ Unit, which uses galvanic skin response technology to non-invasively measure skin conduction to determine your psychological state, will be integrated into Tobii Pro Lab, Tobii's new software platform.

Read this: Once you've tried proper eye tracking you won't look back

Basically, this means it'll be easy for researchers and marketers to see how you emotionally react to visual cues. Are you aroused when looking at a person? Did you feel envious or bored when you saw the car ad? Did Puppymonkeybaby put you in a giggly mood or weird you out? While the short term effect of the partnership is better understanding of human behavior and how people react to ads, it's not hard to imagine a future where VR worlds could take advantage.

We tried Tobii's eye-tracking tech in conjunction with HTC Vive earlier this year and came away impressed. The company already has demos where robots would only acknowledge us when we looked them in their eyes. So imagine the next step, a social space that allowed you and another person to exchange flirty facial expressions naturally, or a horror game dialing horror up or down depending on how terrified you are, or a meditation app working intelligently to reduce your stress.

Tobii Pro Lab doesn't just work with GSR tech though, it can also be used to synchronize eye tracking data with heart rate and EEG data. Tobii also sees this as the first step toward creating an "end-to-end solution" to garnering human insights.

When eye tracking meets skin sensors, tech knows when you're aroused

How we test

Husain Sumra


Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.

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