High Fidelity avatars to make eye contact

Press release: High Fidelity Uses SMI HMD Eye Tracking to Create Life-like VR Avatars

High Fidelity avatar with eye-tracking. (Image courtesy High Fidelity.)

High Fidelity avatar with eye-tracking. (Image courtesy High Fidelity.)

SAN FRANCISCO and TELTOW, Germany — Today, High Fidelity, Inc. and SensoMotoric Instruments announced the integration of SMI HMD Eye Tracking technology with the High Fidelity social virtual reality platform.

Alpha users with access to the eye tracking hardware can experience real eye contact with another person on the platform’s virtual spaces. The animation is powered by SMI’s unique and proven eye tracking upgrade for the Oculus Rift DK2 which is available for virtual reality developers and researchers.

Virtual reality creators are invited to use the eye tracking integration to build life-like interaction scenarios and share them on the High Fidelity open source virtual reality network.

Eye tracking inside the Oculus Rift records where exactly in the virtual scene a user is looking and enables people to make eye contact with another avatar in a virtual space.

Philip Rosedale

Philip Rosedale

“We need life-like avatars to convincingly recreate real-world interactions in virtual reality such as talking, shaking hands or looking at each other,” said Philip Rosedale, founder of High Fidelity and of Second Life. “The SMI Eye Tracking Upgrade for the Oculus Rift DK2 is capable of fast, accurate tracking of the eye. At High Fidelity, we used this hardware to add real eye movements to our avatars and the experience of making eye contact with another person in a virtual space is remarkable.”

SMI’s eye tracking upgrade for the Oculus Rift DK2 is the only high-performance eye tracking solution available and proven for virtual reality applications. It is designed for professional and academic developers and comes with plug-ins for popular virtual reality engines such as Unity and WorldViz. It streams highly accurate 3D data such as gaze vector and eyeball position and comes with a calibration-free user mode for quick and easy setup. A fully automatic slip compensation allows users to move or take the headset on or off without impact on data robustness.

SMI also provides an OEM Eye Tracking Platform and reference designs for virtual reality headsets ready for pick up by manufacturers. Besides new gaze interaction experiences, adding eye tracking to virtual reality hardware allows for optimized use of rendering resources and personalized 3D presentation.

High Fidelity is an open source virtual reality network. It uses a range of new devices such as the Oculus Rift to make the virtual reality experience more immersive and interaction with others more life-like. The platform allows users to build complex interactive experiences using standard formats, languages and tools and to deploy shared virtual spaces to the network.

“SMI Eye Tracking technology is being used by renowned scientific institutes and professional developers,” said Christian Villwock, director of SMI’s OEM Solutions Business. “Our platform is based on a complex set of eye model algorithms derived from two decades of experience in eye tracking for ophthalmology and eye surgery ensuring high robustness and ease of use.”

About SMI

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) is a world leader in eye tracking technology, developing and marketing eye and gaze tracking solutions for scientists and professionals, OEM and medical solutions for a wide range of applications. Find out more at http://www.smivision.com. Follow @SMIeyetracking on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.

Press Release

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  • HiFi avatars are creepy.

    • Cinder Biscuits

      Blue Mars still wins for most uncanny.

      • Carlos Loff

        LOLOLOLLLL

  • Carlos Loff

    And when will HF finally have decent more realistic avatars instead of cartoons ???

    • Rene

      They do, thank goodness. There has been a caricature craze going on there for some time, which is a reaction to staying away from the uncanny valley problem with avatars. The creep factor increases when eye and facial expressions take place and the avatar is somewhat realistic. One is forced to make either extremely realistic looking and moving avatars or go for less realism. Either side of the uncanny valley is fine.

  • The cool thing about one of their interview demos was you could see on the avatar facial expressions that Rosedale was bluffing or on thin ice when asked tricky questions.