Google acquires Eyefluence eye-tracking startup, how it matters

Today, Eyefluence quietly announced on its website that it has been acquired by Google. The company has developed a suite of technologies for tracking eye behavior for virtual reality and augmented reality applications.  Google’s extensive interests in the realm of VR have been no secret, especially with its made by Google VR ready Pixel devices and Daydream VR headset.

The company was founded in 2013 by Jim Marggraff, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded Livescribe, a smart pen company that was acquired by Anoto and has to date raised $21.6 million in two rounds.

Eyefluence uses human biology and allows consumers wearing head mounted displays control and communicate with the display using eye interaction. In other words, this particular technology will allow you to interact and navigate with VR and AR in ways we have never really seen before. According to their website, they’re hoping that their AR technology can have doctors look up patient information with their eyes while their hands are performing life saving surgery. With their VR technology, they are hoping that the consumer will navigate and experience immersive digital worlds and change the way we work, play, communicate and think.

Google’s acquisition of Eyefluence signals continuing interest by the search giant in augmented reality and virtual reality applications. The move may telegraph future strategy in its newly-launched Pixel phone line, which currently has VR capabilities enabled by the Daydream VR headset, which is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR platform in form and function.

How, exactly, Google plans to incorporate Eyefluence into the company’s broader portfolio of products, services and features is to be determined. It’s also unclear whether the acquisition was a strategic move to acquire intellectual property — in the form of Eyefluence’s many patents for eye tracking technology — as a counterbalance to Facebook and Microsoft’s continued research and development efforts into VR and AR applications. But this acquisition is important to Google, as it shows where their next generation VR and AR technology might be headed.

Via: Tech Crunch


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