Fove is today announcing that the company has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Samsung Ventures to further their eye-tracking VR headset, and additionally firms up their commitment to support Valve’s Lighthouse positional tracking technology.

Having now raised 180% of their $250,000 Kickstarter goal (with eight days still to go), the Japan-based Fove says that they’ve received funding from Samsung Ventures, the company’s Korean-based investment arm which funds Semiconductor, IT, Software, Internet Service, Content, and Biotech businesses, among others. Fove nor Samsung Ventures specified the amount of the investment or into which Series it falls.

Samsung Ventures joins Microsoft Ventures London Accelerator and Rothenberg Ventures as investors in the company.

“Our investment in FOVE is evidence of our belief in FOVE’s superior technology and we believe FOVE will launch a competitive VR device in the market soon,” said Samsung Ventures.

While Fove set tentative exploration of Lighthouse positional tracking as their $700,000 crowdfunding stretch goal, the company says that the Samsung Ventures investment ensures support for the technology, including the OpenVR API, which will allow the headset to support SteamVR games. The Fove Kickstarter still has stretch goals for a minigame and advanced gaze analysis at $500,000 and $600,000 respectively.

FOVE Kickstarter

Fove’s headset is the first and only we’ve yet seen to include eye-tracking in a VR headset at a consumer price point. High quality eye-tracking in a VR headset could be useful for user input, foveated rendering, more accurate depth of field, and much more. The headset is promising for more than just its eye-tracking; we called it ‘Next Best’ at CES 2015. The company expects the first shipments of their headset in Spring 2016.

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  • Superior technology eh? I know there has been articles about this headset, but do we know exactly how it works? I’m just about to hit the bed so I’ll just drop this questionmark here :P

    I remember listening to a Voices of VR podcast where they mentioned eye-tracking not by just recording your eye, but to shine IR LEDs on it and record the reflection of those LEDs. Sounded slick.

    Samsung’s comment does make me wonder about the FOVE tech though :)

    • kalqlate

      “…eye-tracking not by just recording your eye, but to shine IR LEDs on it and record the reflection of those LEDs. ” Nothing really special here with this aspect of the tech. The infrared is simply to keep the eyes exposed to a consistent level of light in an area of the spectrum that avoids interference with the inconsistent visible light coming from the displays. Overall, Fove’s tech is indeed impressive.

      • Hmm, well, IIRC they said specifically that they didn’t record the iris or pupil but the actual reflection of the LEDs in the cornea. Might be how everyone does it, but from the interviewee it sounded like their innovation :P But I’m not a specialist in the field so I don’t know :)

  • John Horn

    This concept looks fantastic. Does anyone know if it uses an AMOLED or LCD?
    The KS page says “low persistence”, but not what type of screen.

    • MasterElwood

      low persistence = OLED. No other screen-tech can do LP right now.

      • Not even an LCD with a strobing backlight? That’s what went into gaming monitors for S3D anyway, the tech dubbed Lightboost by Nvidia :P

        • MasterElwood

          Nope. LP light is about 2ms. WAY to fast for anything LCD.

          • MasterElwood

            Even with superfast backlightning, the LCD panel would be to slow to completely switch to the next picture.

            You CAN do it with monitors or TVs (some sony tvs do it) – but small panels are way slower.