Tobii sells both 'consumer' (Tobii eye tracking) and 'research' eye trackers (Tobii pro).

In their help article "Can I use a Tobii Eye Tracker for research purposes?" they state:

If you want to develop software for analytical purposes, post-processing or aggregation of eye tracking data across multiple users using an eye tracker from Tobii Tech, please contact the SDK Licensing team since you will need to obtain a special license to do so.

On the Developer zone they state:

Tobii’s consumer eye trackers are primarily intended for personal interaction use and not for analytical purposes. Any application that stores or transfers eye tracking data must have a special license from Tobii.

They elaborate on this in "Analytical Use of Eye Tracking Data":

Tobii distinguishes applications in two categories: Interaction Use and Analytical Use. Depending on the intended use of your application, you may need to apply for a specific license.


Beyond real-time interaction, knowing where we focus our attention brings value to a range of applications within behavioral research, usability testing, streaming of gaze data and even health assessments. These applications would involve transferring, storing and analyzing/aggregating the eye tracking data which is defined by Tobii as Analytical Use. For any application that store or transfer eye tracking data you must obtain a special Analytical Use license from Tobii.

What they are much less clear on is:

  • Why do they introduce this separate licensing model? Surely, it has to do with pricing and the availability of Tobii pro eye trackers, but this still sounds like a very odd, hard to enforce, business model.
  • How do they intend to enforce this? Can they sell a product and simply ask of buyers not to use it for a certain purpose?
  • How difficult is it to obtain a license? Does anyone have experience with this?
  • What are the inherent limitations of the consumer level eye tracker compared to the professional eye trackers?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if the questions on the business model are really on topic here, but then again you're the mod ;) I would say that it isn't a very unusual business model, though, licensing tiers are pretty common, such as in software that is free to use for non-commercial purposes, but paid for commercial purposes. The way they enforce it is by the risks for trying to sneak by (lawsuits, etc) are not worth the price of the software (a $5/month/person charge sounds like a lot to an individual, but for a software company its a drop in the bucket compared to salaries). $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 5 '18 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause I wasn't 100% certain it is on-topic to be honest. But, it is a question I had, and I expect would definitely be relevant to many researchers doing eye tracking studies (which would be on topic here). For that reason, I also added the other questions which are more clearly on-topic here. :) For one, I suppose if you were to conduct internal research with their eye trackers, there would be no way for them to even find out you are not complying with their license (or maybe you are, and this is allowed?) $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Oct 5 '18 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ For one thing, if your results are published they become public and Tobii may find out that you used a non-pro device for research purposes. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Oct 6 '18 at 19:59

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