Google buys eye-tracking company for pushing the virtual reality


Google just picked up a key piece of technology that might move its virtual reality ambitions closer to the masses.

Eyefluence, which is working to enable eye movements to control digital screens, wrote in a blog post on Monday that it’s joining the search giant Alphabet Inc. The three-year-old startup, which had reportedly raised $US21.6 million ($28.3 million) in funding, didn’t disclose a price.

Google confirmed the deal with Eyefluence in an e-mailed statement.

Jim Marggraff, the creator of the pioneering LeapPad tablet computer, started Eyefluence after buying up assets from neurological research firm Eye-Com. He pledged that the startup would allow people to manipulate objects and digital screens with their eye movements.

 Eye-tracking tech would curb some of the latency and accessibility issues that keep the nascent media to a niche fan base.

Functional eye-tracking is a widely desired feature in virtual reality and augmented reality, which lets digital images interact with the physical world.

Google is interested heavily in VR, launching tailored software and introducing its own mobile headset earlier this month. Google has also invested directly in Magic Leap, a startup that is also purportedly working on eye interaction technology.