Our Tobii X60 setup at SimpleUsability

When upgrading our Tobii 1750 last year we had to decide between buying an integrated eye tracker such as the T60 or a standalone unit like the X60. Whilst most of our web usability research at SimpleUsability is still carried out on a 17 inch 1024 x 768 display, we’ve increasingly needed to use larger HD displays for print and packaging research. So having a standalone unit which we sat infront of different screens seemed the best option.

The main drawback with the remote eye trackers is when the research participant moves the screen to their prefered distance (as they regularly do in sessions). Because the tracker is not physically attached to the screen, you need to take accurate measurements again so that the software knows where the tracker is in relation to the screen. Taking the measurements is easy – it’s just not conducive to relaxing the user at the begining of a session.

To get around this, we put together a setup that’s easy to unpack and run, without having to measure and the users can move things, and the facilitator can adjust the movements to ensure the screen and Tobii X60 are still aligned. The X60 sits on the monitor stand, so you are free to move the whole unit back and forth to meet the preference of the user. All of the kit goes in a flight case. Setting up just involves lifting the screen to maximum stand height and then placing the X60 underneath so that it’s flush with the bottom of the screen. Just for peace of mind, we use the angle finder iPhone app to make sure the X60 angle is set correctly.

We’ve been asked a few times about our setup – so here are a few photos and notes.

We chose the Iyama P1705S 17 LCD Hard Glass Monitor with adjustable stand. Be careful when ordering, because you need to ensure you’re getting the one with the adjustable stand. The glass screen means we can easily clean off fingerprints and pen marks left by participants.

The only modification we made to the stand was to drill two holes to place two socket cap screws for the Tobii X60 to locate on. If you take the metal plate off the base of the stand, there’s room for nuts to hold the bolts in place. I think I spent 3 hours measuring, checking, re-measuring, drawing datum lines, measuring again etc…. then drilling two holes carefully with a pillar drill. Ideally, you want the bolt heads to be in a line parallel to the VESA plate/screen so that the Tobii X60 is central. If you do get it wrong, you can just take measurements to reflect any offset – but having it all central and lined up is best.

The other modification we’ve done is place black vinyl over the logos on both the screen and tracker and led light at the front of the screen, so that there’s no distractions to the user and no “we’re eye tracking you” label on the X60.

If you are planning to copy our setup with a larger monitor, you need to be aware of the angles/range of the tracker. Larger wide screens will mean that the X60 has to be further in front of the monitor to ensure it can track at the extremities of the screen.


SimpleUsability lead the field with running first ever consumer retail research project using the new Tobii Eye Tracking Glasses.

Eye tracking glassesObserving the consumer’s subconscious making decisions in supermarkets.

It’s been over two years since we were first told about a top secret product that Tobii’s R&D team were working on; eye tracking glasses with all the technology hidden from the wearer. I think the exact phrase used was “think Oakley’s meet James Bond”.

To date, all of the wearable/head mounted eye tracking equipment that we have experienced has been a bit cumbersome, with invasive head mounted equipment that usually relied on the participant carrying a laptop with them in a rucksack. The new glasses from Tobii change all of this. They are discrete and simple to use.

Tobii confirmed that SimpleUsability is the first company in the world to have used the new system for consumer research, out in the field, conducting shopping research in supermarkets across the UK. The new lightweight system comprises of a pair of trendy looking glasses and a small recording device that’s similar in size to a portable hard drive.

As a business we pride ourselves in conducting eye tracking studies that observe natural behaviour with minimal research effect. Head mounted eye tracking can be quite invasive – either asking the user to wear a cap or glasses with cameras mounted at the front, constantly reminding the user that they are being monitored. We found that research participants were more than happy to wear the glasses, which meant they naturally got on with their shopping.

To date, we’ve run a number of studies studies with the glasses for both actual in-store shopping and simulated in-store, where shoppers walked up and down projected fixture concepts. The SimpleUsability team are exceptionally happy with the system. The participant simply puts the glasses on, we quickly calibrate, press record, then clipped the recorder to their belt or bag and then sent them off to shop. Takes no more than a few minutes.

Once the shoppers returned from their shop, we just took out the memory card and with a few clicks imported the recording into Tobii Studio. It’s so simple. It usually only took a few minutes to import 45 minutes of eye tracking, allowing us to quickly get on with conducting an in-depth review of the  shopping trip with the shopper.

The big advantages this system has over other wearable eye trackers are:

  • Size and weight – it’s really portable and unobtrusive
  • No crazy head gear or cap – shoppers don’t want to wear caps or funny looking technology on their head. The Tobii system is just like wearing glasses and carrying a video iPod.
  • Great workflow – out in the field you need something that just works and makes sense.

We believe this is going to turn consumer research on it’s head. In the short time we’ve been using the glasses, we’ve learned a huge amount of detail about how the subconscious really makes decisions when out shopping. It’s a well known fact that over 60% percent of human behaviour is automatic and we find that eye tracking is the least intrusive way to observe it.

We will write some more articles about the Tobii eye tracking glasses soon and release some footage from our in-store research.