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Using the EyeTribe on Linux (Ubuntu) through VirtualBox

edited August 2015 in PyGaze

I managed to get the EyeTribe working on my Linux laptop. Not natively, but through VirtualBox. And once it is running on a VirtualBox, you could in theory connect to it from your host Linux environment as well (although I haven't done that). Getting this to work was a bit of a pain, so I figured I'd share it with you guys.

What I used:

  • An EyeTribe. This is a low-cost eye tracker; but you probably know that, or you wouldn't be reading this.
  • A computer that

    • has a USB 3 port
    • runs Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet 64 bit
  • VirtualBox

    • version 5 (VirtualBox 4 won't work, because it doesn't support USB 3)
    • with a virtual Windows 7 64 bit machine

The steps, as far as I can reconstruct them now:

Install VirtualBox 5

If installed, uninstall VirtualBox 4 from Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get remove virtualbox

Next, add the VirtualBox debian repository to Ubuntu by adding the following line to /apt/sources.list.d:

deb vivid contrib

See also:

Now, install VirtualBox 5:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-5.0

Install VirtualBox extension pack

For USB 3 support, you need to install the VirtualBox extension pack on your host system (i.e. on Ubuntu). You can do that by downloading it from the link below, and double-clicking on it to install it:

(The extension pack is not the same as the VirtualBox guest add-ons, which are installed on the virtual machine.)

Enable USB 3 in VirtualBox

I'm assuming that you have a running Windows 7 (64 bit) in your VirtualBox. If not, there are plenty of tutorials out there that explain how to set this up.

In VirtualBox, go to settings of your Windows 7 machine, and go to the USB section. There, enable the USB Controller and set it to USB 3.0 (xHCI) Controller. (If this isn't the case already.)

Install the USB 3 controller driver in Windows

Now start your Windows 7 VirtualBox. If you right-click on Computer and go through Properties -> Device Manager, you might see that the drivers for the USB 3 controller are not installed. This is apparently because USB 3 drivers are not installed by default on Windows 7. I downloaded and installed them from here:

I have no idea whether some drivers are better than others, but these worked for me in any case.

Connect the EyeTribe to your VirtualBox

Now physically plug your EyeTribe into a USB 3 port. In VirtualBox, it should now be visible under Devices -> USB -> Leopard Imaging TheEyeTribe. Enabling it through the menu should have the same effect as plugging in the EyeTribe on an actual Windows 7 machine.

Start the EyeTribe server

You can now start the EyeTribe server, and it should report that 'The EyeTribe stands ready'. If you don't have this server installed, you can download it from the dev section of the EyeTribe site. Unfortunately, this requires a commercial license. (Shame on you guys EyeTribe!)

For me, the EyeTribe UI doesn't work for some reason. That's a shame, because it's a convenient tool for setting up tracking etc. But the basic tracking works, for example using the PyGaze plug-ins in OpenSesame.

Hope this is useful!


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