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Following up on yesterday’s report about Apple’s acquisition of German eye-tracking technology developer SensoMotoric Instruments, we can now report on one of the additional benefits of eye-tracking technology: optimizing rendering efficiency.
Rendering an image is a highly processor-intensive task, requiring a lot of fast, parallel processing power. But the conventional way has been to render the entire image that is in the user’s field of view. This means that even though parts of the image that are behind the user or far to the side may go unrendered, everything that is within the user’s broad field of view is rendered.
But in practice, our eyes are not focussed on everything before our eyes, but only the central part of it. This is the portion of the field of vision that is brought into focus by a part of the eye called the fovea centralis - or central pit. This is the most central area of the retina and it contains the highest concentration of cones.
Adding eye-tracking technology into VR headsets allows developers to implement a new technology called foveated rendering. This technique involves high-resolution rendering of only the portion of the image that is reaching the user’s fovea (i.e. the part of the image that the user is actually seeing in highly focuses vision) while rendering in reduced resolution the rest of the image. The rest of the image is still in the user’s field of view, but the user doesn’t notice that it is in low-resolution, because their eyes are not focused on it.
This reduction in processing, maximizes efficiency in the use of processor resources, lengthens component life and saves energy. This has the knock-on effect of reducing heat build up in the processor and the hardware that houses it. This latter point is very important because a number of companies in the VR industry are starting to develop so-called “all-in-one” solutions, in which all the hardware is contained in the VR headset itself. Miniaturization has now made such solutions possible. But in order for it to be comfortable to the user, heat build-up must be kept down to a minimum.
A number of companies are now working on such all-in-one solutions. One of these is Samsung, that is trying to develop an all-in-one headset around the Exynos 3 processor. Samsung are collaborating with Visual Camp - a leader in the field of eye-tracking technology - to incorporate this technology into the new headset.
But Samsung are not stopping there. At the Mobile World Congress in Shanghair (MWCS), Samsung revealed that they will also be incorporating speech recognition, hand tracking and even facial recognition technology into the headset.
The CEO of Visual Camp (that were also exhibiting there) said “By collaborating with Samsung Electronics, our technology was internationally recognized at MWCS 2017, enabling us to secure a bridgehead for future global marketing efforts. Now, we will continue promoting the high quality of Korean startup technologies and products overseas.”
BestVR.tech will bring you further news.