Monday May 01, 2017

HTC Vive Getting Eye Tracking First

We are big on VR around here, no matter the naysayers. And one thing we have found out is that when it comes to high-end VR graphics, it takes a metric buttload of GPU power to pull off amazing VR visuals in the HMD. Foveated rendering is a technique that can greatly increase VR graphics performance. It does this by NOT rendering high image quality to the parts of the screen that you are NOT looking directly at. The fly in the ointment is getting the system to be able to identify what you are looking at however. Venture Beat is reporting that the Chinese company 7invensun is looking to be the first to be able to add eye-tracking to the HTC Vive with its aGlass product.

A Chinese startup known as 7invensun (pronounced seven-in-ven-sun) is announcing it will be releasing a new eye tracking module for the Vive next month. The module is called the aGlass and it will be available for "limited pre-order sales" next month, according to HTC. The company is referring to this first roll-out as a developer kit, but preorders are open to anyone. According to HTC, the system will cost about $220 and will release first in China next month before rolling out towards Q3 in the west.

News Image

The aGlass consists of two separate trackers built specifically to fit alongside the lenses of the Vive. Each tracker has a halo of IR lights combined with sensors that can track the movements of each of your eyes and eyelids. It is said to support customized lenses depending on the specific vision concerns of the individual customer.

The big kicker here is that the HTC Vive can be retrofitted to implement this technology. This is reported to also able to be done by the user, so for any [H]VR user, this should easy-peasy. Once that is done, the aGlass has a software layer, also implemented by the end-user, that can add foveated rendering to any NVIDIA GPU being used for accelerating VR on the Vive. The guys at Venture Beat used the aGlass technology and found that they could accelerate a 45FPS situation to the optimal 90FPS needed in VR, however they did not discuss the quality of their VR experience.