Google continues its push to invest in virtual- and augmented reality technologies, this week snapping up Eyefluence, a startup that makes eye-tracking software for VR and AR headsets.
Eyeluence launched in 2013 and raised $21.6 million in venture capital from five investors, notably Santa Clara-based Intel Capital. Eyefluence recognized early on that handheld controllers weren’t intuitive in navigating menus or making selections inside a virtual reality environment. The company patented technology that tracked what a person was looking at inside the headset, something they’ve called “a completely new language for eye-interaction.”
“We recognized an opportunity to create a more natural, intuitive way to interact with augmented and virtual reality displays,” Eyefluence wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “With our forces combined [with Google], 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!”
Next month, Mountain View-based Google is set to launch a new virtual reality platform called Google Daydream. The platform will be integrated into future iterations of Android, and include hardware specifications for Daydream-ready headsets.
Google’s Daydream View headset will also launch in November for $79. Users insert their Daydream-ready smartphone into the front of the cloth-covered device.
Acquiring eye-tracking software could be useful outside of its navigation capabilities, as Google eventually begins serving up immersive advertising experiences inside VR. Being able to track what users are looking at and for how long could provide valuable data to advertisers.