Umoove Opens A Selective Android SDK For Its Mobile Head-Tracking Tech

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Israeli startup Umoove is reaching out to developers in the Android camp, with the launch today of a beta SDK for Android devs wanting to use its face and eye tracking technology.

The SDK is not public, nor is it open to all — with Umoove picking and choosing only the app ideas it thinks will best fit with its tech. Interested developers are being asked to contact the startup via its website or by emailing SDK@umoove.me.

It says it’s released an Android SDK earlier than planned, owing to “increased” developer interest and “positive initial feedback” from Android OEMs.

It also says it’s currently in talks about raising a Series A. To date, Umoove has raised around $3 million in total funding (a $1.5 million seed round, and a recently closed <$1.5 million Angel round from undisclosed investors).

Umoove already has an SDK for iOS devs, and last month launched its first app to showcase what the head-tracking interface can do — a 3D flying game called Umoove Experience.

Gaming is one area it sees plenty of potential applications, such as in first person shooters — allowing the gamer to aim by turning their face to the place where they want to shoot, for example.

Umoove’s technology is designed to work with any smartphone which has a front-facing camera and can therefore see where the user’s head/eyes are pointing. The head-tracking interface is not intended to replace touchscreen interactions, but rather be a supplement — offering a way to augment touch-based interactions with additional, potentially more immersive functionality.

However there’s definitely a learning curve involved for users — and it remains to be seen whether the ability to control certain mobile interfaces with gentle head movements will catch on or not. That will depend, in large part, on the quality of the apps and devs Umoove can attract. 

The startup’s CEO Yitzi Kempinski told TechCrunch it’s had “hundreds” of enquiries about its iOS SDK in the past few weeks, of which it sees around 100-150 being “relevant” ideas that can mesh well with its technology — and of those some 40 have actually started the process of building something that will incorporate Umoove’s head-tracking interface.

Kempinski says app ideas being actively worked on include “maps, children’s games, children’s books, virtual tours, racing games, 3D models, hands free interaction for apps used in situations where hands are busy, science education, medical diagnose and more”.