With its eye-tracking solution already on the market, Tobii could be a big player in VR going forward. Today, the company announced investment plans that it hopes will make that happen.
The Swedish company plans to invest around $16.6 million in VR over the next three years using money it intends to raise by offering additional shares to existing holders at a special price. Tobii values the move at around $50 million, though it won’t know for sure until the end of December.
This money will help the company keep up with the rate at which eye-tracking is expected to advance in the coming years. Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, for example, expects high quality solutions to be implemented into VR headsets five years from now. Tobii will continue to develop and supply new eye-tracking hardware and algorithms as part of its plans, which hopefully means it will be creating some of those solutions.
Tobii also just announced a deal with a “large” smartphone manufacturer to integrate its tech into handsets. This new partner hasn’t been revealed, though we’ve reached out to the company to see if this move might have any immediate impacts for mobile VR and to find out more about its plans for the tech. The company intends to spend another $16.6 million in this industry too.
Eye-tracking has a number of applications for VR, including foveated rendering and avatar replication, and can already been seen in upcoming headsets like the FOVE 0. Google also recently purchased Eyefluence, suggesting we could see eye-tracking in headsets powered by Google in the years to come.
Tobii, meanwhile, already has its tech integrated into several rigs and monitors with 40 non-VR games already implementing its eye-tracking. These include big releases like Watch Dogs 2 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, with the tech helping them become more accessible to gamers of varying abilities. We recently tried eye-tracking as a means of input inside VR with FOVE, though found it came with its own set of problems.