Stockholm-based eye-tracking company Tobii announced that it is working with Lumus, a leading augmented reality (AR) transparent display maker to integrate eye-tracking technology into the Lumus DK50 AR development kit.
The DK50 includes the OE50, a less than 2 millimeter thick waveguide display that is capable of 1280 x 720 resolution at 60fps and a 40-degree field of view. The device runs on Android Marshmallow and packs a Snapdragon 820 and a pair of synced 4-megapixel cameras. The DK50 is very much like its successor, the DK51, with only slight design differences between the two, According to a company spokesperson.
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“At Lumus, our mission is to deliver the world’s best transparent displays for smart eye-wear and head-mounted displays that transform the way people interact with reality. Lumus is committed to finding and working with best-in-class technology partners to demonstrate the personalized responsiveness of AR content,” said Eli Glikman Chief Product Officer at Lumus. “In partnering with Tobii, we can offer device manufacturers an extremely compelling AR display combination.”
While Lumus manufacturers optical engines for AR headset makers, the company also has a warehouse of development kits which are actually reference designs for original equipment manufacturers anxious to jumpstart their own augmented reality smartglasses products.
Tobii eye tracking integration will give both AR glasses and VR headsets the ability to understand where user attention is focused, thus become much more responsive to the user. Displays can then deliver AR data and potential courses of action based on that attention info.
Another important benefit delivered by eye tracking to AR is that many next generation image rendering techniques require information about where a user’s eyes are focusing their gaze, and where they’re positioned, to convincingly align an AR image on the display.
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When Lumus unveiled the DK50 at the The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it attached SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) for its eye tracking technology. Since then, Apple has acquired SMI, which prompted Lumus to pursue another provider.
Innovative methods for user input will be as indispensable to AR headsets and smartglasses as mouse is to PC and touchscreen is to smartphones. Eye tracking is one method that hardware makers will more and more look to incorporate alongside hand tracking in the near term, as more advanced technologies like brain control interfaces mature in the background.
“This collaboration provides additional evidence for the strong demand we are experiencing to integrate eye tracking technology into both AR and VR devices,” said Oscar Werner, Business Unit President of Tobii Tech. “For the last two years, we have been focusing on partnerships and projects to integrate eye tracking into VR headsets to bring about better VR devices and better user experiences. In parallel, we see a growing interest in AR, where the benefits of eye tracking are even stronger.”