In an announcement this week technology giant Google has acquired eye-tracking specialist Eyefluence, as it continues its virtual reality (VR) development.
On its website Eyefluence issued the following statement: “In early 2013, our journey began with a mission to transform intent into action through your eyes. We recognized an opportunity to create a more natural, intuitive way to interact with augmented and virtual reality displays. Over the last three and a half years we have built an incredible team, advanced our eye-interaction technology, and created strong partnerships that have lead to the development of a completely new language for eye-interaction.
“Today, we are excited to announce that the Eyefluence team is joining Google! With our forces combined, we will continue to advance eye-interaction technology to expand human potential and empathy on an even larger scale. We look forward to the life-changing innovations we’ll create together!”
Eye-tracking has a multitude of different uses for VR head-mounted displays (HMDs), such as foveated rendering, a processing technique whereby the part of the image being looked at by the user is rendered in a higher quality than the surrounding area, thus reducing the PC workload. Another feature is gaze related interaction, so whenever a player looks at an NPC for example, that character will then respond, and when they look away that response stops.
None of the major HMDs currently employ eye-tracking but the first to market will most likely be FOVE, a Chinese headset that first drew support through Kickstarter. FOVE has the technology built-in and the company will begin taking pre-orders for the device in November for those that didn’t originally back the campaign.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Eyefluence and Google, reporting back with any further VR updates.