AdHawk Microsystems, a company that is developing the world’s first camera-free eye-tracking system, will be receiving over $5 million CAD in funding from Intel.
The Waterloo based company works on developing headsets and eyeglasses as tools for motion tracking solutions.
The Series A investment round was led by Intel Capital, but Brightspark Ventures also participated. AdHawk Microsystems CEO and co-founder, Dr. Neil Sarkar, has won awards at the University of Waterloo in his research on microsystems for human-computer interaction.
“Creating a sense of total immersion, through an untethered, responsive and unobtrusive headset, is the ultimate goal of the VR/AR world,” said Sarkar. “We believe our technology will go a long way to enabling headset makers to deliver that experience to their users.”
According to AdHawk, the current VR/AR technology that has eye-tracking systems depends on cameras to track where the user is looking. AdHawk’s eye-tracker, which is currently available as an eye-tracking evaluation kit, will use ultra-compact micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). This tool is so small it can’t be seen by the naked eye, and accurately predicts where the user will look next up to 50 milliseconds in advance.
The new technology hopes to contribute to the world of gaming, placement of ads in VR/AR, and progress in human-computer interaction. The company is also working on developing sensor technology to capture and analyze data from multiple sensors.
“We have discovered that when we take thousands of eye-position measurements per second to capture the dynamics of eye movements within saccades [the eye’s rapid, abrupt movements between fixation points], we get valuable insight into the state of the user – are they tired, interested, confused, anxious? Where exactly will they look next? This information can be fed back into the VR/AR experience to greatly enhance immersion,” said Sarkar.