Google Nabs Eyefluence Eye-Tracking Startup To Boost Virtual Reality Experiences

It looks like Google has its “eye” on the prize. The company recently acquired Eyefluence, an eye-tracking interface start-up that was founded in 2013. Together they have a “vision” to improve VR experiences through eye-interaction technology.

Eyefluence stated, “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!”

eyefluence and google

Eye-tracking is an essential component in the future of virtual reality. Eyefluence has spent the last three-and-a-half years creating a new language for eye-interaction and have developed a technology where users move their eyes like a computer mouse. Users can navigate menus and make selections with eye gestures. Very few other companies even have a comparable technology.

This acquisition comes right before Google’s launch of its VR platform Daydream. Daydream in essence is a more advanced replacement for Google Cardboard and uses a new VR Mode that’s incorporated into Android Nougat. Daydream-ready smartphones are all designed with performance and low-latency in mind and include a VR System UI for navigation. Google has also developed enhanced versions of YouTube, the Google Play Store and Google Photos which were built from the ground up to operate in an VR environment. The Google Daydream View VR Headset will be available this November for $79 USD.
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Other companies have been actively developing eye-tracking technology. SMI and Tobii have both created systems where the eye signals attention on the interface. Fove begins pre-orders on its headset next month, which incorporates eye-tracking sensors.

With Eyefluence comes funding from its investors. These investments equal roughly $21.6 million USD from companies such as Intel Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, and NHN Investment. The financial details of the Google-Eyefluence deal have not yet been disclosed.