Eye Tracking: Recent Developments in the Industry

Pratik Gundawar

Understanding the cognitive processes and emotions that affect consumer behavior requires more data for marketers and sellers. This is where eye tracking technology comes to use. It is a great tool that analyzes the way humans perceive things in front of them. It measures a person’s eye movements to know where they are looking at a certain time. Additionally, it measures the sequence in which their eyes are moving from one place to another. Eye tracking is gauges customer attention to messages and advertising. Additionally, it helps analyze product performance, product and package design, and customer experience. Eye tracking finds application in several areas such as psychological, academic, and medical research, packaging design, human-computer interaction (HCI), web designing, consumer behavior research, assistive communication, and usability testing.

The Market for Eye Tracking

The market for eye tracking is growing at a rapid pace. This is due to factors such as growing demand for assistive communication devices such as eye gaze edge controlling devices and increasing use of eye tracking technology in military and aerospace sectors. As per the research firm Allied Market Research, the eye tracking market garnered $456.3 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $1,818.1 million by 2024, thereby growing at a CAGR of 37.1% during the forecast period, 2018 – 2024. However, the growth of the market also faces a variety of challenges. Some challenges include high product cost, growth in automation across various industry verticals, and rapid acceptance of robotics technology.

Several developments took place in the eye tracking market space recently. One of them is the launch of an eye-tracking technology trial by Seeing Machines and L3 in December 2018. Another is Varjo’s launch of a virtual reality headset named VR-1 in February ‘19 which features eye-tracking technology, fixed-foveated display, and more. On January 19, Eyeware raised $1.9m to bring eye-tracking tech to consumer applications. In March ’19, Saccadous, Inc. and Systems Imagination, Inc. (SII) formed a partnership to advance the development of eye tracking technology and shed light on human brain function. In February 2019, Microsoft released a HoloLens 2 headset including new features such as eye-tracking technology and more.

Seeing Machines and L3 Team Up for Eye Tracking Technology

Seeing Machines Limited, a company that trades in computer vision technology, recently formed an alliance with L3 Commercial Aviation, a provider of holistic solutions across a wide range of services to the commercial aviation industry. In fact, these companies join forces with the aim of offering integrated eye tracking capabilities into their Full Flight Simulator (FFS). The newly developed solution is deployed into a new Boeing 787 FFS.

The eye-tracking technology helps track and assess the performance of pilots and their process of making decisions during simulator sessions, thereby facilitating standardization of head-up display flight training across the airline company and making the best use of training outcomes for pilots and instructors. Robin Glover-Faure, President of Commercial Training Solutions, a part of L3 Commercial Aviation, said, “The implementation of the eye-tracking technology is a substantial development within the world of pilot training and will provide critical data to better measure, tailor and advance training programs.”

New Virtual Reality Headset by Varjo

Varjo Technologies, a Finnish startup, recently unveiled its VR-1 headset which comes with a 60-PPD resolution bionic display, integrated 20/20 eye tracker, and compatibility with renowned 3D software engines & tools. The device’s display makes use of two displays in each eye. One of them is an ultra-high pixel density display that fills out the central ~20 degrees of the field of view. The other is a lower pixel density display which covers the headset’s peripheral view. The headset also features an eye-tracking technology, which delivers high precision and interaction with human-eye resolution VR content. VR-1 is serves professionals in industrial design, training and simulation, architecture, engineering, and construction. According to the company, the product is available in 34 countries across North America, Europe, and Hong Kong.

Eyeware Raises Money for Eye Tracking

Eyeware, a Swiss startup, announced raising CHF 1.9 million in a seed funding round led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), TRUMPF Venture GmbH, Swiss Startup Group AG, and Zurich Kantonalbank in order to develop new and advanced eye tracking solutions. One of the projects exhibited in public is the BionicWorkplace. This is a concept for a futuristic factory workplace containing a robotic arm created by Festo, a company in Germany. At the CES 2019, there was a presentation of Eyeware technology as part of an automotive solution. The technology employs auto-grade time-of-flight cameras to gauge drivers’ attention for in-cabin monitoring and infotainment systems. As a result, this technology reduces road accidents caused by drivers.

Saccadous and Systems Imagination Form Alliance

Saccadous, Inc., a digital health startup, providing diagnoses and tracking of neurological diseases and Systems Imagination, Inc. (SII) is a company that applies the latest in AI to accelerate the development of novel algorithms for SII clients. In fact, these companies have joined forces to make progress in the eye tracking applications to interpret human brain function. The former’s high-speed eye tracking and the latter’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology would help speed up the explanation of changes in human eye movements. As a result, these findings may shed light on cognitive functions in advanced levels. The alliance is crucial as it develops new applications of the technologies offered by the companies. Systems Imagination is creating an eye tracking application that is meant to grab eye movements of researchers and clinicians as they study biomedical data that has been organized and displayed graphically on monitors and headsets.

Microsoft Launches the HoloLens

Microsoft, the multinational technology company announced the launch of its next-generation holographic headset. In fact, this headset is called HoloLens 2. Projecting digital imagery over the real world, the new product features a new interface, a physical redesign, eye-tracking, doubled field of view (FoV), retina-scanning login for Windows Hello, and more. As a result, the eye tracking technology allows users to scroll through menus hands-free. According to the company, HoloLens 2 is extremely comfortable to wear for long periods. This is due to its ergonomic design and carbon-fiber frame.

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