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Google acquires eye-tracking company for virtual reality efforts

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 10:15

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Google just picked up a key piece of technology that might move its virtual reality ambitions closer to the masses. Eyefluence, which is working to enable eye movements to control digital screens, wrote in a blog post on Monday that it's joining the search giant Alphabet Inc.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Google just picked up a key piece of technology that might move its virtual reality ambitions closer to the masses. Eyefluence, which is working to enable eye movements to control digital screens, wrote in a blog post on Monday that it's joining the search giant Alphabet Inc.

 The three-year-old startup, which had reportedly raised US$21.6 million in funding, didn't disclose a price. Google confirmed the deal with Eyefluence in an e-mailed statement.

Jim Marggraff, the creator of the pioneering LeapPad tablet computer, started Eyefluence after buying up assets from neurological research firm Eye-Com. He pledged that the startup would allow people to manipulate objects and digital screens with their eye movements.

Functional eye-tracking is a widely desired feature in virtual reality and augmented reality, which lets digital images interact with the physical world. Eye-tracking tech would curb some of the latency and accessibility issues that keep the nascent media to a niche fan base.

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Google has invested heavily in VR, launching tailored software and introducing its own mobile headset earlier this month. Google has also invested directly in Magic Leap, a startup that is also purportedly working on eye interaction technology.

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