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FOVE Launches Kickstarter for Eye-Tracking VR HMD

Four major virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs) will have launched by Q3 2016. The Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Project Morpheus kits all represent the very best in VR, with each boasting crucial features. Something that each one of these kits is missing, however, is eye-tracking. These HMDs aren’t able to read the actual direction in which a user’s eyes are looking, only their heads, limiting some potential applications. FOVE is a new HMD that is looking to fill the gap left in this area. The kit has today launched a crowd-funding effort via a Kickstarter campaign.

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FOVE is hoping to raise some $250,000 USD towards the development of the device. The kit boasts a 2560×1440 display with precision eye-tracking. This means that, while the HMD fully supports the head-tracking seen in other devices, players are also able to use their eyes for certain features such as input control. It could be that eye-tracking is used for efficient user interface navigation, with users simply looking at the options that they want to select, or it could be used for targeting in a videogame and more.

The kit can also be used for ‘foveated rendering’, which allows experiences to shift focus to the areas that the user’s eyes are facing. FOVE claims this approach to rendering will allow for better performance on low-end hardware. It also allows for ‘focus expression’, with calculates the parallax between pupils to enhance the depth of field in experiences.

“Our eye-tracking technology is able to read very subtle eye movements and translate these into user-intention and emotion,” said Yuka Kojima, the CEO and Co-Founder of FOVE, recently interviewed by VRFocus. “By adding this extra recognition, we can not only control the objects in VR, but also bring real human connection into virtual reality.”

The company has also announced a partnership with digital VR store, WEARVR, bringing compatible content to the service in the future.

The first 200 people to pledge $349 to FOVE’s campaign can secure a HMD. The developer is expecting to ship to ‘pilot developer partners’ in Q3 of 2015 and reach Kickstarter backers by May 2016. VRFocus will continue to follow the HMD closely, reporting back with the latest updates on it.