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EyeLink vs EyeTribe vs SMI vs Tobii for PyGaze

Out of the box opinion question:

Between the Pygaze supported Eye Gaze trackers:

  • EyeLink
  • EyeTribe
  • SMI
  • Tobii

For someone just starting out, which probably provides the best newbie out-of-the-box experience to get quickly started with coding? Any differences or installation quirks to take into account if you're developing on PC versus Mac versus Linux (Ubuntu)?

-- Jaron


  • I have an EyeLink 1000 plus, several Eye Tribes, and now a Gazepoint. Most of my research is on dwell time, so I don't find that I need the EyeLink---I bought it because at the time, it wasn't that much more than a 60 Hz system from ASL or SMI...that was before @Edwin's review of the Eye Tribe and his incorporation of Eye Tribe into PyGaze. Now I use the Eye Tribe for everything, because it's simpler to use than the EyeLink (e.g., you can run it off one machine and there is no need to focus the camera or worry about thresholds...I also find that I get more accurate calibration) and because I have sent Eye Tribes to collaborators, and I want to be on the same system. The only thing I miss about EyeLink is how easily you can read the .edf files into a Matlab struct with a solution from their forum. It took me a while to figure out how to read the .tsv files from the Eye Tribe into Matlab, and the event parsing from the API doesn't seem trustworthy, but you can use @Edwin's awesome PyGaze Analyzer for event detection if individual fixations or blinks are important to you (btw the Eye Tribe isn't reliable for blink detection). I have a collaborator who has an Eye Tribe working on a Mac, but it only works in the 30 Hz. The main problem with the Eye Tribe, of course, is that it's no longer in production.

    I just recently got a Gazepoint (only works on PC for now), and I just got it working in OpenSesame with Pygaze thanks to this forum. I would recommend starting there. The GP3 is only $700 and unlike the EyeTribe, it gives you an image of the eyes and pupil detection like what you get from research-grade trackers, yet has the ease of use of the Eye Tribe (no focusing, reliable calibration, impressive pupil detection robust to some head movement, and only requires one machine). And they have a ~$2000 HD model that probably would not require a head rest because of the expanded range of the camera. It would not be that much more when you factor in the head rest (I shell out for the Head Spot from UHCO).

    Good luck!

  • Hi Jaron,

    To add to @TomArmstrong's overview, specifically about your OS question: Please keep in mind that a lot of eye trackers are essentially Windows-only. OpenSesame and PyGaze work across platforms (Windows, Linux, OS X), but that doesn't mean the underlying APIs do! Make sure to check what OSs are supported by the developer tools for your tracker of choice.

    Other than that, very little quirks exist if you're dealing with PyGaze or OpenSesame. PyGaze internally deals with the differences in how trackers operate, so you don't have to. Only once you start doing more complex stuff (e.g. custom calibration, gaze-contingent stimuli, etc), you might have to deal with the underlying manufacturer API directly.

    FYI, on the specific implementations for SMI and Tobii. SMI setups can work on one or two computers to do stimulus generation and eye tracking, which means you might have to go into the source code to change a hard-coded IP address (easy to do, and just post here if you need help doing it). Tobii has recently switched to using a new SDK that does not support all trackers. Some require an additional license to be purchased (ask Tobii for details), and some are simply too old (these might work with the tobii-legacy implementation, but without any guarantees!).


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