FOVE, a Japanese start-up company, has developed a VR headset which integrates eye-tracking as a novel means of interaction. This technology uses tiny chip LEDs which is developed by Osram Opto Semiconductors. These chips provide the infrared illumination to track the wearer’s direction of gaze and eye movement. FOVE says that this new system will allow the users to immerse themselves in another world as the enclosed headsets will completely shut them off from their real surroundings. The sensors used in the headset keeps track of users’ actions and positions and then integrates this information with their location and eye movement.
The latest technology allows the use of “foveated rendering” which reduces the demand for high computing power and the graphics cards. The VR system can adjust the resolution and render the areas in the direct field of vision in high resolution and allow for lower resolution in the periphery at the same time. All this is possible only because of the information available on the basis of user’s point of gaze.
The system uses eye tracking system which illuminates the user’s eyes with infrared light and then registers the reflection with an IR-sensitive camera sensor. The system also uses dedicated algorithms to determine the user’s direction of gaze and movement of the eye. According to FOVE, “one the major factor while deciding the eye tracking system was that very little light lies outside the central emission spectrum which is lost. It meant that we can maximize our sensor performance by streamlining our optical filter design process. The company uses SFH 4053 ChipLED (dimension of 0.5 mm x 1.0 mm x 0.45 mm). They have an emission wavelength of 850nm with a beam angle of +/- 70° to ensure even illumination of the user’s eyes. There are many SFH 4253 TOPLED which are mounted around the headset creating a pattern of IR light dots.
This is a massive accomplishment from FOVE considering the fact that the company was founded in 2014. The company aims at continuing discovering new ways to optimise the present technology with the support from other Asia hardware manufacturers like Samsung.