From viewing to controlling to FOVE. They're calling the headset with eye tracking capabilities the 3rd generation of virtual reality; the generation that will allow users not only to see and physically control their VR world, but fully engage with it. By reading and incorporating subtle eye movements into our interactions in virtual environments, FOVE seeks to humanize the digital world and enable more precise control in video games.
Founders Yuko Kojima and Lochlainn Wilson say that with FOVE you'll be able to aim with your eyes, focus your vision, move naturally, and make eye contact. Whoa! Make eye contact?! Let's not get crazy here. I'm not sure anyone who'd be into using FOVE is into making eye contact with other people.
Then again, maybe starting with realistic virtual representations of them could serve as a good training tool for real life.
FOVE provides its enhanced VR experience using small form-factor infrared sensors inside the headset that track its wearer's subtle eye movements (to 1/20th of a degree) and calculate where in 3D space s/he's looking. When fed to the graphics engine, this information adjusts the virtual world's focus and allocates rendering resources accordingly. The result: a more in-depth and, if you will, authentic virtual experience. Plus a significantly reduced probability you'll puke. The increase in the speed and accuracy of interaction with virtual environments using your eyes in addition to your body and hands should decrease the nausea often associated with wearing VR headsets.
In addition to gaming and general VR entertainment, FOVE has already been able to enrich the experiences of people with limited mobility and special needs. The company launched the Eye Play the Piano project at the University of Tsukuba's Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged. While wearing the headset, disabled children are able to use their blinks and eye movement to trigger chords and play the piano. Check out the second video above to see the collaboration in action.
To read more about FOVE's technical specifics, specs, and compatibility, check out the headset's website or Kickstarter campaign. You can also pledge for your own FOVE on Kickstarter through July 3, 2015.