Virtual reality headset that you control with your eyes begins taking pre-orders

FOVE, the first VR headset that tracks your eyes as well as your head, has been made available to pre-order.

Headsets will begin shipping to original Kickstarter backers by the end of 2016, while all other preorders will begin shipping early next year.

FOVE is able to track eye movement by virtue of custom small form-factor infrared sensors inside the headset. These sensors bounce light off the retina to register how the eyes are angled.

Users can then control games and apps using eye movements, and virtual characters are capable of perceiving users’ gaze.

fove

FOVE is targeting the entertainment, education, gaming and medical industries with its gaze control in virtual reality interfaces. The technology has already enable a patient with muscular dystrophy to play a piano with his eyes.

“Eye-tracking is really critical for VR control,” said Yuka Kojima, CEO of Fove, in an interview with GamesBeat. “For me, it’s so natural. This is for early adopters now. But soon we think it will be a world standard.”

To give FOVE an initial boost it is being made available with a $50 discount for one week only, so it is available for $549.

Its makers have also partnered with 7,000 internet cafes in Japan and Korea. Through this partnership FOVE already has access to 25 million monthly users.

Images courtesy of FOVE

Images courtesy of FOVE

The headset has a OLED screen (2560 x 1440), with a frame rate of 70 frames per second. It has a 100-degree field-of-view.

It uses a 120 FPS infrared eye-tracking system and two cameras, and has HDMI, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 connectors. The headset connects to a Windows PC, and it requires a system with an Intel Core i5-4590 or better and 8GB of memory.

FOVE also requires a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970,  AMD R9 290 or greater GPU.

In terms of content 250-plus Steam VR titles are compatible with the device and FOVE have partnered with OSVR to make more titles available.

Live demos of the headset, including “Project Falcon,” a first-person rail-shooter developed in partnership with creative production company, Rewind, will be held at the VRDC event in San Francisco.

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Want to learn how to be an office don? Start playing World of Warcraft

A new study has found that gamers who work well in a team during “raids” while playing World of Warcraft (WoW) develop qualities that allow them to excel in the workplace.

Basically, all that time your parents said was wasted playing video games, you were actually training to become a better worker than the guy who spent his internship fetching coffee.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, surveyed WoW players from across a multitude of servers.

Those surveyed were diverse in age, race, sex, class, occupation and location, and on average played WoW eight hours a week  and worked 38 hours a week, a factor which was of particular interest as the researchers wanted players with full-time jobs requiring teamwork.

“What we wanted to look at was virtual teamwork and what kind of characteristics a person had in-game that would translate to real life and the workplace,” said Elizabeth Short, a graduate student in industrial-organizational psychology who compiled data for the study.

The skills provided by managing to properly work together to bring down the Lich King are obvious in some aspects – computer-mediated communication skills and technology readiness were highlighted by researchers for example – but a more notable discovery was how WoW raiding develops, what the study refers to as, the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, openness,  conscientiousness and neuroticism.

The survey’s respondents were each asked 140 questions about motivation, communication skills, preferences for teamwork and personality, with most questions relating to the Big Five personality traits.

By comparing the players’ survey answers to their characters’ statistics, players gained group achievement points based on how much group gameplay they participated in and how successfully the researchers were able to find small but “statistically significant” correlations.

Fairly predictably, the correlation that stood out as one of the strongest was that of “technological readiness”.

It’s fairly obvious using tech to play WoW would stand you in good stead in a modern workplace, and it’s probably no surprise that desperately trying to keep your DPS alive while people determinedly attempt to lone wolf an entire raid is going to give you a certain resilience when it comes to dealing with technology.

“The more technologically ready you are, the more resilient around technology you are, the more adaptable you are, the more achievement points you have (in WoW),” said Short.

“The more achievements you have in game, the more technology savvy you are in real life. And that’s a good thing, especially in virtual communication teams and workplaces.”

The research stemmed in part from Short’s own past experience as a member of the WoW community and she has stated that she hopes to take the positive growth she took from the game and use those transferable skills to help others in the workplace.