|Seat||Danderyd , Sweden|
|management||Henrik Eskilsson ( CEO )|
|Number of employees||1014 (2018)|
|sales||1302 million SEK (2018)|
Tobii AB (formerly Tobii Technology ) is a Swedish high-tech company that develops and sells products for eye tracking and eye control. These include electronic communication aids , devices for recording eye movements and gaze direction, which are used in scientific and market research, as well as eye-tracking technology for integration into computer monitors, VR headsets and other electronic mass products. Tobii is one of the world's leading companies in this sector. The company's products are available in 70 countries.
John Elvesjo, Mårten Skogö and Henrik Eskilsson founded the company in 2001. With the "Tobii ET-17", the first product was brought onto the market in 2002, a product primarily designed for research applications that can be installed according to the " plug and play " principle external eye tracker for the computer, which allowed the subject to move freely in front of the monitor. In 2005 the “MyTobii D10” was introduced, a monitor with built-in eye control that could be connected to any computer and allowed people with severely restricted mobility to control the computer with their eyes.
In 2005 the company opened its first office in the USA; a branch in Germany followed in 2007. Also in 2007, the Norwegian software company Viking Software AS , a manufacturer of software for assisted communication, was acquired . From Viking Software , the Norwegian subsidiary was Tobii Technology Norge AS . That same year, Tobii received $ 14 million in venture capital from private equity firm Investor Growth Capital . Another strategic acquisition was the 2008 takeover of the Boston-based company “Assistive Technology Inc.” (now “Tobii Assistive Technology Inc.”), a manufacturer of electronic communication aids.
Amadeus Capital Partners and Northzone Ventures invested an additional $ 16 million in May 2009 and Intel Capital invested $ 21 million in Tobii in early 2012 . Also in 2012, “Tobii Glasses 1”, the first generation of glasses with eye tracking technology, was introduced.
In the same year Tobii presented the "Tobii Gaze" eye control on a Windows 8 computer at the CES . Part of the presentation was a video game that can only be controlled with the eyes. In 2014 Tobii took over its most important American competitor in the Aided Communication market segment, Dynavox Systems LLC .
In April 2015 Tobii went public on the Stockholm NASDAQ ; the IPO raised $ 46 million. Also in 2015, the company entered the consumer electronics market with its first product: SteelSeries , a Danish manufacturer of gaming peripherals and accessories, licensed technology from Tobii and sold an external Eye designed for PC gamers under the name "SteelSeries Sentry" -Tracker. In 2017, Tobii acquired Sticky , a San Francisco-based company that uses webcam eye tracking to conduct large-scale market research studies using online panels for corporate customers .
In March 2018, John Elvesjo, one of the company's founders, retired from his position as deputy managing director. Research director Mårten Skogö also left the management in April 2019. His position has not been refilled as the company now has research directors for the three business segments Aided Communications ("Tobii Dynavox"), Professional Applications ("Tobii Pro") and Technologies for the Mass Market ("Tobii Tech").
The acquisition in August 2018 of the British company Smartbox , which also manufactures electronic aids for assisted communication, attracted the attention of the British competition and Markets Authority . Tobii appealed against the authority's instruction to reverse the purchase in September 2019.
Tobii is headquartered in Danderyd near Stockholm . The parent company Tobii AB has subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, China, Taiwan, Great Britain, Germany and Norway. The German subsidiary Tobii Technology GmbH is based in Frankfurt am Main .
The technology company divides its business activities into the business units "Tobii Dynavox" (software for assisted communication and electronic communication aids with eye control), "Tobii Pro" (technology used in research and market research to record eye movements) and "Tobii Tech" (eye control technology, the manufacturers of mass products can integrate into computers, smartphones, VR headsets and the like).
“Tobii Dynavox” and “Tobii Pro” contributed 60% and 29% of the company's revenue in 2018, respectively. Both business units are operating profitably. Due to high (especially research) investments in the “Tobii Tech” business unit, the company's overall balance sheet is negative. Tobii sees significant growth potential in this area as it assumes that computers, VR and AR headsets, smartphones and vehicles will increasingly be equipped with eye control technology.
The managing director is currently (2019) Henrik Eskilsson. The Tobii Dynavox, Tobii Pro and Tobii Tech business units are headed by Fredrik Ruben, Tom Englund and Anand Srivatsa, respectively.
Eye tracking is a sensor technology that helps a computer or other electronic device to “know” where the user is looking. The eye trackers developed by Tobii are based on the principle of "corneal reflection tracking". They consist of cameras, infrared projectors and processors for evaluating the data.
The eye tracker projects a pattern of invisible infrared light points onto the cornea of the eye, and the integrated infrared-sensitive camera takes high-resolution images of the eye, which are evaluated using image processing and mathematical algorithms. (To put it simply, the position of the light points in relation to the pupil - which moves with changing viewing directions - is determined.) In this way, the currently fixed point ("gauze point") is displayed on the computer monitor or at short time intervals ("sampling rate") calculated on the display of another electronic device. If the technology (usually integrated in special glasses) is used to record the direction of view in a real three-dimensional environment, the data from a camera that takes pictures of the environment as well as from movement and acceleration sensors are also included in the evaluation.
People with communication barriers and severe mobility impairments use Tobii's technical devices and language instruments to communicate and cope with everyday life. We offer software and apps that convert text, images and symbols into spoken language, software for language support lessons, eye trackers that enable eye control from Windows PCs, and complete solutions for supported communication in the form of tablets with pre-installed communication software and a touchscreen and / or eye control, some of which also offer options for controlling external devices with your eyes.
Eye tracking solutions and services for scientific and commercial research
Eye-tracking glasses, monitor-based eye-trackers and software packages from Tobii for recording and evaluating eye-tracking data are used in academia (e.g. in psychology, neurosciences, infant and toddler research, in the Educational sciences, in sports sciences, in clinical research and diagnostics) as well as for the implementation of usability studies and in market research. In addition, the company offers market research and usability studies as a service.
Eye tracking for mass products
Companies from various industries that want to integrate eye tracking or eye tracking support into smartphones, computers, VR headsets, driver assistance systems , operating systems , computer games and other consumer products can license the technology and software from Tobii. Currently (2019) Tobii is cooperating in this area with Dell , HTC , Intel , Microsoft , Qualcomm and Nvidia, among others . The Windows operating system supports Tobii eye trackers from version 7. At the end of 2019, almost 150 computer games that work with Tobii eye control will be offered.
Prizes and awards
- 2008 “Grand Award of Design” for their gaze-controlled screens
- 2010 “SIME Grand Prize” for the most innovative technology concept
- 2011 Red Dot Design Award for "Tobii Glasses" eye tracking glasses
- 2011 "Bully Award"
- 2012 Award for the best prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show
- 2013 Appointment as “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum
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