Google buys Eyefluence eye-tracking startup

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Today, Eyefluence announced that it has been acquired by Google. The eye-tracking interface startup founded in 2013 had raised $21.6M in funding from investors including Intel Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and NHN Investment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Eyefluence shared the announcement quietly today in a blog post, spotted first by Mattermark:

Today, we are excited to announce that the Eyefluence team is joining Google!  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!

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As Google launches its Daydream virtual reality platform next month with its Daydream View headset, there is already attention being directed to its next-gen headset efforts.

Eye-tracking is a very important technology to future virtual reality headsets. Other companies in the space like SMI and Tobii have devoted efforts to using the eye as a method of signaling attention in interfaces but Eyefluence has devoted itself fully to using eye gesture cues for navigating menus and making selections.

Eyefluence enable users wearing head-mounted virtual reality or augmented glasses to use their eyes as a mouse and making selections only with their eye movements. Eye-tracking has other more technical use cases like foveated rendering which allows high-density displays to selectively choose areas of the screen to display images at lower-resolution based on where you’re focus actually is on the display.

Other companies in this space include Fove, which is beginning pre-orders for its VR headset with eye-tracking sensors early next month.

This acquisition is really not a huge surprise for most who had seen Eyefluence’s impressive technology up close. I chatted with Eyefluence CEO Jim Marrgraff about his thoughts on the future of human-computer interaction at Disrupt SF last month and he had some bold ideas.