What is the eye tracking challenge?
About two years ago a challenge spread like wildfire on Twitch and YouTube and it’s picking up speed on social media once again. PewDiePie was one of the first YouTubers to try it out when he uploaded a video called Testing out Eye Tracking on his channel (which unfortunately got deleted for copyright strike reasons).
The eye tracking challenge consists in sharing your eye gaze on the screen for your viewers to see, while you watch random videos online. Pewds concluded in a hilarious video that it’s almost impossible to control your eye gaze, especially if images pop up in the peripheral area of your eyesight. This happened to him multiple times as he noticed himself peeking at images in the recommended videos section on youtube, exposing how little we actually control our own attention and how social media tricks us into clicking on the next thing.
There are many other famous YouTubers out there that have tried it as well, such as iHasCupquake’s wholesome eye tracking challenge, Pokimane’s eye tracking challenge + heart monitor, or even reaction videos, such as Pokimane reacting to JJ Olatunji’s eye tracking challenge.
How does the eye tracking challenge work?
Before we answer that question, we need to answer these: what is eye tracking? what is an eye tracker?
Let’s get just a little technical for a moment: eye tracking is a technological process that enables the measurement of eye movements, eye positions, and points of gaze. In other words, the eye tracking software identifies and monitors a person’s visual attention in terms of location, objects, and duration. Eye trackers are the devices that track your point of regard on a screen. If you want to have a better understanding of these two topics, we recommend checking out Understanding Eye Tracking & How it Can Work for You.
There are different technologies that allow you to do eye tracking. The one that’s used in the videos mentioned above is Tobii, a piece of hardware you need to buy and use only for this sole purpose. This will currently set you back around $270 (or €229).
The technology used in these trackers is based on pupil center corneal reflection (or PCCR). This means that your eyes are being illuminated with an infrared light source and reflections are then detected by an image sensor. Add some calibration and algorithm magic, and what you get back is the gaze bubble on your screen. It’s a reliable technology and has been in use for over two decades, especially in the assistive tech sector. However, even though the cost of such devices dropped significantly in recent years, they still require quite a hefty investment.
Eye tracking with your iPhone & iPad
As a robust and affordable alternative, your iPhone or iPad can be used as an eye tracker to run the eye tracking challenge. Eyeware Beam is the eye tracking app that turns your iPhone into an eye tracker, a head tracker, and a webcam. It works with both an iPhone or an iPad with a TrueDepth camera (see devices list here) and it uses proprietary 3D eye tracking software and head tracking technology (i.e. it does not depend on the ARKit).
The app takes advantage of Apple’s TrueDepth technology, using the user-facing camera to enable remote (no need for wearables) and accurate eye tracking and head tracking functionalities. A PC software counterpart needs to be installed and once paired with the phone, a user is ready to stream their gaze or play simulator games that support head tracking.
Eyeware Beam is the easiest and most affordable eye tracking software that enables your gaze bubble to be visible on a screen. You can download the beta app from the AppStore here. This is a release that is temporarily free, so hurry if you wanna test it.
Personalize your experience. Get creative!
Now that we got the tech side covered, next, you need to set up your eye tracking device and simply pick a video to watch. There are plenty of choices within the reach of a YouTube search. If you want to spice things up, here’s an idea: many participants personalize their experience with the eye tracking challenge by trying it out with their friends, significant other, or even family members. It’s time to call for a family reunion.
And speaking of spicing things up, some of the challenges included penalties such as eating ghost pepper wings whenever you fail, as scuffedpuppie did in this TikTok! If you feel like you want to challenge the gods of the eye tracking challenge, simply google eye tracking challenge you can’t win or eye tracking challenge (tik tok edition) impossible and see if you can pass successfully. There’s a bunch of videos to get you inspired.
By now, you understand the basics of the eye tracking challenge, eye tracking software, and eye trackers. We talked quite a bit about this challenge and the tech that enables it. So get up and get moving. There is no better time to take the challenge than…right now? And If you fail, well, at least you go down laughing.
Are you considering doing the eye tracking challenge using Eyeware Beam? Use #eyewarebeam in your video description and we’ll share some of the best challenges that we come across!
Get eye tracking today! Download Eyeware Beam here.