Qualcomm is the leading supplier of chips for mobile phones, so the deal with Tobii to add its eye tracking technology head-mounted displays (HMDs) powered by Qualcomm’s chips is signficant.
Tobii, founded in 2001, is working with Qualcomm on a full reference design and development kit for the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, which includes Tobii’s EyeCore eye tracking algorithms and hardware design. Tobii will then license the eye tracking technologies and work with Qualcomm’s HMD customers on the design of the optical system.
The heart of the technology is foveated rendering, where VR and AR devices become aware of where a user is looking and can direct high-definition graphics processing power to that exact spot in real time. This enables higher definition displays with lower poweer consumption and longer battery life.
“Increased interest in the untethered, mobile VR segment, in conjunction with Qualcomm’s innovation and technology leadership in this space, further strengthens our excitement about the potential of this market opportunity for Tobii eye tracking,” said Oscar Werner, president of Tobii. “At its core, eye tracking fundamentally enables hardware manufacturers to build smarter and more capable devices with greater mobility, that in turn deliver truly immersive and natural experiences to delight users.”
The devices automatically orient images to align with a users’ pupils to adapt to the individual user, helping to increase the visual quality of virtual and augmented reality experiences, and allows HMDs to accurately track gaze in real time, enabling content creators to use eye contact.
“Qualcomm is focused on transforming the way that people use mobile technologies for entertainment and productivity,” said Hiren Bhinde, director of Product Management, XR Technologies, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We added support for Tobii’s eye tracking solution to our new Snapdragon 845 VR development kits to help developers create new experiences using a higher quality of gaze interaction that we think will ultimately provide consumers with more intuitive, visually immersive experiences.”