Recently, we covered a key patent Microsoft filed for its eye-wear represented in the patent application as before. According to leaked Xbox documents, Microsoft is expected to reveal their AR glasses for games this year. We didn’t hear anything from Microsoft on this front from E3, so there is a possibility that the project got delayed due to some reasons. Today, WPDang reported that Microsoft’s augmented reality project is currently put on hold. According to their sources, the issue is related to patent licensing. The key patents related to Kinect sensor are limited to their current purpose and cannot be used for these glasses.
TechRadar recently reported that Microsoft is working on virtual reality, but it’s still in the “early stages” and “well behind” behind Oculus VR and Sony right now. Apart from the Microsoft is eyeing a Japanese VR headset company called FOVE. FOVE claims that they are the first eye-tracking head mounted display. By tracking gaze position in real time it is possible to interact with and control objects on the screen in new ways.FOVE have been now accepted into the Microsoft Ventures London Accelerator Program and they are the first Japanese company to join the program. Also FOVE team has now moved to London to work with Microsoft Ventures.
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.
FOVE listed the following as the main features of their system,
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.