Oculus and Facebook have reportedly inked a deal to acquire The Eye Tribe, a startup that created a $99 eye-tracking device developer kit, for an undisclosed sum.
According to a report by TechCrunch, Oculus confirmed the acquisition of The Eye Tribe, which also makes software that promises to deliver gaze-based interfaces to smartphones and maybe even virtual reality headsets. TechCrunch noted The Eye Tribe also created foveated rendering technology, which enables a VR system to hold onto computational power by generating perfect graphics only where the user is looking. In essence, it creates a focal point that moves as the person’s eyes move, noted the report.
The Eye Tribe has raised $3 million in venture funding from Startup Bootcamp and received a $2.3 million grant from The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. The Eye Tribe also competed in TechCrunch’s CES Hardware Battlefield in 2014 when it just started selling its developer kit, noted the report. More recently, the company has been trying to get more developers and is building apps that would benefit from eye tracking. Oculus confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, but it didn’t provide details as to how much it paid, who is coming on board from the startup and what will become of the existing Eye Tribe users.
In May, Facebook-owned Oculus rolled out its Rift virtual reality headset, with Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey hand-delivering the first public Rift model to Ross Martin, an Alaska man who managed to beat other VR enthusiasts to the punch and record the first pre-order for the device back in January. Clad in an appropriately ironic Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and a pair of flip-flops, Luckey handed over the inaugural model to Martin as the entire exchange was recorded on Facebook Live.