Ultra-Fast Eye Tracking Without Cameras for Mobile AR Headsets

Room GH

The human eye is never still; its movement reveals a wealth of information about an individual’s state-of-mind, interests, and neurological health. The eye is capable of reaching angular velocities of 900⁰/sec during saccades, which are among the fastest movements that we can perform. The extraocular muscles are also precise: we routinely generate microsaccades that subtend angles from 0.03⁰ to 2⁰. This combination of rapid and precise actuation serves as a “front-end” for the highest bandwidth sensory interface to the human brain: the visual system. It is therefore not surprising that the next major computing platform will rely heavily on eye tracking and visual inputs, a trend that is evident in the emerging VR/AR enterprise.

Our team has developed the first camera-free eye-tracking microsystem. A MEMS (microelectromechanical system) device on a tiny chip scans a beam of light across the eye 4,500 times every second. This beam is reflected from the cornea onto a detector to precisely reveal the user’s gaze direction. Because the technology does not rely on cameras or image processing, it achieves order-of-magnitude improvements in power consumption, latency/bandwidth, and form factor. The latest specifications to be revealed at AWE are enabling foveated rendering in mobile platforms, endpoint prediction during saccades, and unprecedented insights into the state of the user.

Develop Track