SMI is working to bring eye-tracking technology to VR

There are quite a few applications that allow us to create and act as avatars in virtual space, interacting with various other users in the same game. While a few companies have made quite a bit of progress towards making these avatars as accurate a representation of our true selves as possible, there are still a few things about humans that we need to perfect before our virtual representations become truly life-like. One of these things is the movement of our eyes.

Eye tracking in virtual reality obviously poses quite a challenge, as the current slew of headsets on the market don’t sport any special hardware that makes this kind of tracking possible. SMI technologies thinks they may have found a viable solution however, and are currently working with Valve to help bring the tech to the market.

SMI and Valve have managed to integrate the software required for the tracking into the OpenVR SDK and API, meaning that developers who would like to utilize the technology can do so freely. In addition, Valve have also apparently found a way to fit the required hardware into the HTC Vive headset. Headsets outfitted with the new technology have been shipped out to a number of research partners working with the two companies, who will hopefully help to find new ways to use the tech to the advantage of developers.

The technology is apparently the same as the magic behind the face-scanning tech that Google showed off just last week, but Valve  are obviously only really looking to track eyes for now. Further down the road it would be great to be able to track full expressions on people’s faces, but we may have to wait for next year’s conference to see something of that caliber.

Are you looking forward to the tech? What development do you want to see next?


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