Facebook acquires eye tribe for Oculus eye-tracking software
Facebook Inc.’s Oculus has acquired The Eye Tribe, a company that tracks eye movement in virtual reality to improve the experience.
Oculus confirmed the acquisition of the Copenhagen-based startup, without stating a price. The acquisition was reported earlier Wednesday by TechCrunch.
Eye Tribe is the latest in a series of tech acquisitions this year for Oculus. Facebook is especially interested in eye tracking because the company wants to take the lead in social interactions in VR. The ability to follow eye movement makes it easier to understand people’s expressions and let them communicate effectively with each other in a virtual world.
For example, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is interested in helping people watch basketball games together, have board meetings, travel to foreign countries and take selfies in virtual reality.
Facebook isn’t alone in focusing on the importance of eye tracking to VR. Alphabet Inc.’s Google acquired Eyefluence, another startup working on eye-tracking technology, in October. The search giant is investing in virtual reality as it aims to integrate its media services, like YouTube and its app store, into the nascent technology.