December 6, 2018
As reported by VRFocus and Digital Trends, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has recently published a Google patent application that uses eye-tracking cameras to track facial expressions. The patent application is titled ‘Classifying Facial Expressions Using Eye-Tracking Cameras’. This technology could be significant in creating more immersive virtual reality experiences.
The technology works by using machine learning algorithms, combined with eye-tracking sensors to analyze a user’s facial expressions. The patent application describes using one or more eye-tracking sensors in one or more head mounted devices. This technology is helpful as virtual reality headsets tend to obscure the user’s face, covering their facial expressions.
The patent application also describes how such technology could allow users to interact with each other in a virtual world through ‘avatars’ – virtual versions of themselves. These avatars would also be able to show the user’s facial expressions. The algorithm is able to recognize and then display expressions such as anger, happiness, surprise and more.
This technology, if implemented, may be helpful in making virtual reality a more immersive experience. At present, although virtual reality technology is growing, it is still in an early stage of overall development, and tends to suffer from low-resolution graphics, slow performance, or users that are not properly visually represented in the virtual world. This technology could help the industry take a step forward.