On Wednesday, Facebook’s Oculus confirmed that they acquired the Danish eye-tracking startup called The Eye Tribe. The company did not mention any price. This acquisition is important because in the near future, the users might be able to control their mobile or virtual reality experiences with just their eyes and their direction.
The Eye Tribe
For quite some time, The Eye Tribe has been making developer kits destined for eye-tracking devices which could then be used for computers. Those had the price of $99. Another one of their ambitious ideas was a software which could help bring a gaze-based interface to both smartphones and virtual reality headsets. Moreover, The Eye Tribe has also developed a system based on a so-called foveated rendering technology. What this does is focus on creating perfect graphics only when you are looking in that particular direction. This way, a lot of power is saved. They explained it as being some kind of a focus point which moves wherever you are looking.
According to the company’s co-founder, this million dollar technology helps a lot. Apart from being versatile, meaning that it can go on any device from phones to computers, it currently helps a lot because it is used by fighter planes. In games, for example, it makes its presence known whenever you are shooting just by using your eyes. Now, what The Eye Tribe is planning to do is bring it to the mainstream audience.
Oculus ’ interest in eye-tracking technology
What is Oculus ’ business in all this situation? Most probably, they want to implement this interesting technology in their virtual reality business. Experts are stating that this new eye-tracking technology is going to radically change and improve the way we perceive virtual and augmented reality today. This is most likely what attracted Oculus to buy the Copenhagen-based startup. Apart from this, they might implement it in their upcoming “Santa Cruz” wireless headset. This technology could help enormously with the rendition of much complex scenes at higher frames.
Recently, many companies have begun using eye-tracking technology in order to allow users to either teleport around a room in virtual reality or to show your eyes on an virtual avatar. Apart from this video-game related advantages, eye-tracking technology might revolutionize our entire perception of the digital era. Firstly, you can scroll a page by just looking at it and pointing your eyes in the right direction. Secondly, you can stop, pause or control the volume of a player with just your eyes if your hands are busy with something else. Car technology can also benefit from this technology.
It is interesting to note that the Danish startup has so far raised a little over $3 million. This is an extremely low amount of money, especially when compared with Eyefluence, another eye-tracking company which raised $21.6 million. Immediately after that, Google bought it, in October. It seems like this technology will become increasingly more important in the following months. And only giants like the Facebook-owned Oculus or Google might be able to introduce it to the mainstream markets.
Image source: here