Google has acquired Eyefluence, a company that describes itself as providing eye-interaction technology for augmented and virtual reality applications, for an undisclosed sum.
Eyefluence announced the purchase in a brief statement on its website this week. The company noted that it had combined forces with Google, but gave no indication of when the transaction had happened.
“We will continue to advance eye-interaction technology to expand human potential and empathy on an even larger scale,” the statement noted.
Google has not released a statement so far on its new acquisition. The company did not respond immediately to a request seeking more information on the transaction.
Eyefluence’s LinkedIn page shows the company was established in 2013 and is based in Milpitas, Calif. The profile identifies the company as having between 11 and 50 employees and focused in the consumer electronics space. Eyefluence’s team includes experts in UX design, optics, computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Prior to the Google purchase, Eyefluence raised more than $21 million in two rounds of investor funding. Major investors in the firm included Intel Capital, Dolby Family Ventures and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.
The company claims an IP portfolio that includes more than 30 patents that have been already granted or are pending. Eyefluence says it is working with Fortune 100 companies to accelerate adoption of smartglasses as well as augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality headsets based on its technology.
Its core eye-interaction technology is designed to let users control head-mounted displays (HMDs) using their eyes. The technology aims to give users the ability to use their eyes to input and control functions in a similar way to other user interfaces, such as a computer mouse and keyboard.
The company claims that its hardware integrates into the frame of standard head-mounted displays such as those used in VR and AR applications. Eyefluence touts partnerships with multiple HMD manufacturers and says its user interface technology can be integrated into products from all of them.
With Google so far remaining mum on its plans for Eyeflunece, it’s unclear how Google will harness the technology. Google currently offers two virtual reality platforms for developers—its Cardboard VR headset and Daydream a brand-new platform the company announced recently for interactive mobile virtual reality applications.
The first Daydream ready headsets, or Daydream View, are expected to start shipping later this fall and are designed for extended use, unlike the Cardboard viewer, according to Google.
The company’s new Android powered Pixel and Pixel XL phones are the first Daydream-enabled smartphones. Users will be able to connect a Pixel phone to a Daydream View headset to explore VR applications, the company has said.
One of the core features available with Daydream View is a controller that allows users to interact with the VR app using hand gestures and movements. Google has claimed the controller is so precise that users can even draw with it.
Eyefluence’s technology will give Google a way to broaden the manner in which users interact with their VR apps. In addition to hand gestures and movements, the technology will support the ability for people to use their eyes to interact.