SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Javier Paniza

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FOVE, the World's First Eye Tracking Head Mount Display! Aiming for Global Game and Medical Markets

On July 23rd FOVE, Inc. announced its development of the world's first consumer orientated eye tracking head mount display along with our first teaser movie (fove-inc.com).

FOVE has completed development of its first proof of concept and is preparing to release a developers kit in 2015.

On July 16th FOVE, Inc. was accepted into the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in London(*1), and is the first Japanese company to enter the program. From now, we will participate in the program and investigate possible future cooperation with Xbox due to its global market potential.

In the short term, we are aiming to unveil our prototype and release preliminary details of our upcoming SDK during the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Pitch day in December.

*1:Microsoft Ventures is a strategic partner for promising startups around the world focused on business growth & development, industrial strength technology and beautiful usable products. Build locally, scale globally. We help smart companies take flight. We currently have 7 accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Tel Aviv and now Seattle. Most recently we announced a Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Partnership with American Family Insurance, working with startups focused on home automation.
Webpage: https://www.microsoftventures.com/
Twitter: @MSFTVenturesUK

FOVE: Main Features

FOVE is the world's first consumer orientated eye tracking head mount display. The name FOVE comes from a play on the words Field of View and Fovea. The fovea is the part of the eye responsible for sharp central vision (also called foveated vision).

Our main selling point is that we combine a cutting edge display, eye tracking, orientation sensing(*2) and head position tracking (*3) into a single package, allowing users to control the 360°/360° virtual word freely with their eyes. Existing virtual reality systems leave the entire scene in sharp focus, which feels out of place when compared to our experience of the real world. FOVE solves this by tracking the users gaze and parallax, determining where in 3d space a user is looking. This enables the graphics engine to adjust focus (*4) and allocate rendering resources appropriately. Additionally rather than relying extensively on the mouse and other forms of input more suitable to 2d surfaces which are hard to use naturally in a deep 3d environment, our gaze tracking technology allows for quick and accurate interaction and control in 3d virtual environments such as games.

FOVE can not only be used to immerse users in realistic 3d worlds, but can be used to improve the quality of life of people who have difficulty with use of their hands, or more profound communication difficulties.

*2:High refresh rate gyro, accelerometer, magnetometer sensor integration tracks head orientation
*3:An external unit tracks head movements
*4:By selectively blurring objects at depths that the player is not focusing on, we can provide an image much closer to one that people observe in their daily life, reducing simulation sickness and eye strain.

FOVE's current status and future plans

* We are currently preparing our SDK in order to allow developers to make new games based on our eye tracking system.

* We are currently negotiating with domestic and foreign content creators about potential arcade games, amusement park installations.

* We plan to exhibit domestically and overseas starting with the Microsoft Ventures London December demo day.

* We are negotiating possible distribution avenues in the South American and south East Asian markets.

A world brought to you by FOVE

FOVE increases the freedom and usability of virtual reality games

Quickly aim virtual weapons with your gaze, Lock onto multiple moving targets within the blink of an eye. Virtual battlefields can be controlled in intuitive, novel ways.

In Interactive cinema, virtual characters can know where the user is looking, and make eye contact or exchange glances enabling much more delicate interaction than ever before.

In action games, enemies can use the players awareness against them, intensifying strategy by anticipating attacks and exploiting blind spots.

By selectively blurring areas that are not being focused on and diverting rendering resources to areas that are, realistic graphics can be produced that are much more difficult to distinguish from reality and are easy on the eyes.

By exploiting the new usability improvements provided by eye tracking, FOVE can provide Immersion at a whole new level.

Expanding into the medical aid/welfare domain, people with restricted use of their hands can use their eyes using software FOVE is developing. Patients may simulate the use of mouse and keyboard using their own eyes without or with minimal assistance from caregivers.

This development is being made in cooperation with the National University Corporation; University of Tsukuba linked Kirigaoka Special Education School (K-12).

Additionally research with applications to Autism and Communication are being conducted by professor Hasegawa from the Niigata University Neuroscience faculty and assistant professor Nishiyama from Osaka Universities industry-academia cooperation headquarters making the most of eye tracking and head tracking features for virtual communication therapy.

Research results are being fed back into the technological development of rehabilitation software aimed at improving interpersonal skills for interviews and everyday life.

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