Watching you watch
Virtual reality is a new frontier in the tech world. Companies big and small are watching the breakthroughs in VR tech closely anticipating how it will change the way we interact with current technology.
Oculus rift just purchased Eye Tribe, an eye movement tracking company, and has plans to integrate their innovative tech into their headsets.
What is eye tracking?
This innovation has the potential to not only change our VR future, but also wildly update the tech we have now. Consumers are so used to touch screens and remote click devices (like computers and game consoles) that we don’t know how utterly awesome interacting with our eyes could be.
Imagine scrolling through articles just by looking at the bottom of the page, pausing music with your eyes, or turning the page of your Kindle without moving your hands. You could take a selfie just by looking at the camera lens.
Eye tracking can even provide those with limited mobility the ability to communicate and play.
The possibilities of eye tracking are endless. With Oculus’s (and by proxy Facebook’s) new purchase, eye tracking may become this decade’s touch screen.
How foveated rendering works
For VR specifically, this tech could help reduce the size of standalone headset operating systems. Eye Tribe utilizes foveated rendering, which only finely renders the space you’re looking. Foveated rendering is built on the concept that we can only see in detail the pinpointed space that our fovea (the little spot in the center of our retina) is focused on. If you focus just an inch to the left or right of this article, you’ll have a hard time reading these words. Go ahead, try it.
Impossible right? Foveated rendering capitalizes on that exact concept. Just like your actual vision, only the place you look on screen will be in focus. Everything else will be fuzzy. Foveated rendering is a brilliant cheat that uses less rendering power overall, giving VR developers the ability to build more detailed and complex scenes.
Setting a new precendent
Even if your business isn’t in tech, eye tracking provides a new precedent for marketing departments around the world. What if you could tell exactly where people looked at your page and for how long? What attracts them, what maintains their ever-torn attention? It’s not about mouse clicks any more, or even mouse movements. It’s about the consumers eyes, where they’re actually looking, and what they actually care about before they look away.
All in all, this technology is innovative and has an exciting future. Whatever Oculus Rift can do with Eye Tribe will no doubt enhance the vision of eye tracking tech everywhere. We may not need VR headsets to experience the incredible convenience of eye tracking technology, and it’s worth all our eyes as the technology moves forward.