Fove CEO Yuka Kojima made a splash on the September cover of Forbes Japan.
In an issue detailing ‘The Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women’, CEO Yuka Kojima and the Fove headset took the cover story.
The Japan-based Fove is creating a VR headset with integrated eye-tracking. Eye-tracking in a VR headset is not a new concept, but Fove is perhaps the first company to be building it in directly at a consumer price point.
Accurate eye-tracking in a VR headset could bring a number of benefits. I outlined a few of them in an previous article covering Fove:
- Eye-based interface and contextual feedback: Imagine a developer wants to make a monster pop out of a closet, but only when the user is actually looking at it. Or perhaps an interface menu that expands around any object you’re looking at but collapses automatically when you look away.
- Simulated depth-of-field: While the current split-screen stereo view familiar to users of most consumer VR headsets accurately simulates vergence (movement of the eyes to converge the image of objects at varying depths) it cannot simulate depth of field (the blurring of out of focus objects) because the flat panel means that all light from the scene is coming from the same depth). If you know where the user is looking, you can simulate depth of field by applying a fake blur to the scene at appropriate depths.
- Foveated rendering: This is a rendering technique that’s aimed to reduce the rendering workload, hopefully making it easier for applications to achieve higher framerates which are much desired for an ideal VR experience. This works by rendering in high quality only at the very center of the user’s gaze (only a small region on the retina’s center, the fovea, picks up high detail) and rendering the surrounding areas at lower resolutions. If done right, foveated rendering can significantly reduce the computational workload while the scene will look nearly identical to the user. Microsoft Research has a great technical explanation of foveated rendering in which they were able to demonstrate 5-6x acceleration in rendering speed.
- Avatar eye-mapping: This is one I almost never hear discussed, but it excites me just as much as the others. It’s amazing how much body language can be conveyed with just headtracking alone, but the next step up in realism will come by mapping mouth and eye movements of the player onto their avatar.
The company ran a Kickstarter back in May which blasted through its $250,000 goal, eventually raising just over $480,000. Following an investment from Samsung Ventures, the company committed to bringing Valve’s ‘Lighthouse’ tracking technology to the headset. The company recently showed off the latest iteration of Fove’s industrial design.