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Google acquires eye-tracking startup Eyefluence to bolster its standalone VR headset efforts

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Even though Google has just debuted its simplistic new Daydream VR headset, the tech behemoth is already said to be working on a standalone wireless headset. But this wouldn’t only be a high-end headgear that doesn’t require a computer or smartphone but can also pack in something unexpected by most — eye tracking.

In a bid to make this a reality, Google has acquired an eye-tracking startup ‘Eyefluence’ that is trying to create more intuitive ways to interact with augmented and virtual reality apps. This standalone headset will see Google enter the less-explored field of mixed reality and take a path somewhat similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens. The terms of the transaction have been kept under wraps.

Sources privy to the development have given Engadget hints about the technology and said,

Google’s device will integrate eye tracking and use sensors and algorithms to map out the real-world space in front of a user.

The efforts of developing a next-gen. standalone headset(also being worked upon by Facebook, Qualcomm, and others) will be completely separated from the robust Daydream platform Google is working on. This eye-tracking technology integration in the headset will allow users to use their eyes as a cursor and maybe blinking as a method to make a certain selection.

The company based out of California was founded by serial entrepreneurs Jim Marggraff and David Stiehr in early 2013. It has been aggressively working on merging non-commercial eye technology acquired from a govt-funded research company with head-mounted displays i.e VR/AR headsets.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mitchelle Hodgden, Marketing Manager at Eyefluence says,

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!

Driven by their prime directive ‘Let your eyes do what your eyes do’, Eyefluence has developed its first patented user interface based on the eye-brain connection. This tiny piece of hardware developed by the engineering team has been optimized for integration within head-mounted displays. It operates and controls the eye-tracking algorithms, which require minimum processing power and work well in variable lighting conditions.

To develop this ground-breaking technology, the company has managed to rake in over $21.6 million in two funding rounds. These rounds saw participation from investors including, Intel Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and NHN Investment.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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