SMI Launches Oculus Rift Eye Tracking Upgrade Package

Eye tracking is a feature often discussed for virtual reality (VR) technology. Head-mounted displays (HMD) such as the Oculus Rift are able to accurately replicate head movements and adjust vision accordingly, but this technology could add further to VR immersion by allowing images to be manipulated based on the position of eyes, perhaps even adding additional features such as realistic focus. In the past Oculus VR has speculated that such technology might not be applicable to VR for a while. This week SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) has defied those notions, launching an eye tracking upgrade package for the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2).

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The company had already integrated its technology, which is based off of its own eye tracking glasses, into the first development kit (DK1) version of the device, but has now integrated it into DK2 due to the popular response. The tech will allow scientists to gather new data on Oculus Rift users while VR developers will have access to new tools to enhance VR experiences. Support for engines such as Unity and Vizard is included.

“SMI has always been leading in mobile and medical eye tracking applications,” said SMI managing director Eberhad Schmidt, “The upcoming VR and AR applications and the associated head mounted displays will benefit immensely from well integrated high performance eye tracking. They are a natural field of application for SMI’s technology. Our latest generation modular eye tracking platform allows fast integration and excellent performance in various environments. The Oculus Rift DK2 upgrade package is just the first of a number of groundbreaking solutions we are making available soon.”

Those interested in the tech can contact SMI itself for details on using it. Examples of the eye tracking are on display at this week’s Socity for Neuroscience 2014 meeting in Washington D.C., USA. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all VR-related news, reporting back with any further updates.

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