Eye-tracking technology has long been applied in cognitive research and medicine, given that studying eye movements can lead to understanding of some human behaviors. Likewise, gaze analysis has been regarded as important data for predicting a subject’s area of interest and intentions.
However, modern eye-tracking technology can go further, promising a new phase in human-device interaction. The demand for gaze analysis has grown for use in various fields such as driving, using smartphones, VR and AR head-mounted displays, retail and other online services. Established in 2014, VisualCamp is paving the way for supplying VR/AR/mobile eye-tracking software and is pursuing innovation by introducing the world’s first “mobile” gaze technology. “The eye-tracking market has been dominated by foreign companies, but most of them were focused heavily on providing remote desktop solutions,” VisualCamp Founder and CEO Suk Yun-chan said. “However, we became the first to introduce mobile eye-tracking technology at Mobile World Congress Shanghai (MWCS) in 2018. We also have the lightest portable eye-tracker, which can be embedded into a remote computer or laptop.”
The software company’s core technology can tell exactly where a person’s gaze is focused. It allows the device one is using to track the position and motion of their eyes. For this reason, VisualCamp sees great potential in its technology being applied in fields of education and medicine. The eye-tracking technology can tell if students really know the answer or are guessing, and be applied to treat ADHD and autism. The software is intuitive to use, which enables the company to collect fairly accurate behavioral data, according to Suk. “VR/AR HMD manufacturers, automakers and retailers have taken note of how important this technology is to the smart future,” Suk said. “Eye-tracking in games or streaming videos adds a whole new level of depth to the experience.”
VisualCamp Founder and CEO Suk Yun-chan, left, explains the company’s gaze analytic solution to foreign visitors at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 24. / Courtesy of VisualCamp
According to Suk, eye-tracking will make unimaginable services possible. For instance, a typical TV commercial features a product, model, brand and manufacturer. By combining eye-tracking with AI and other input modalities, the company can identify a person’s area of interest by analyzing the duration of gaze fixed at each of the four categories. As for the smartphones, gaze can also be used as a “pointer” on a screen, enabling hands-free interaction with the device. While eye-tracking tech companies are able to provide a direct-to-consumer experience, VisualCamp places manufacturers and businesses at the center of its services. “Our focus has been and will be helping manufacturers and service providers to equip our software.
We don’t have any plans to launch a mobile app,” Suk said. He noted that the company is currently working closely with a domestic automaker to incorporate eye-tracking technology and carry out point-of-care (POC) testing, refusing to elaborate citing a confidentiality policy. “In addition, we joined hands with a Chinese smartphone manufacturer to embed our solution in its new smartphones, which will likely be unveiled in late June,” he said. “The partnership would give us access to approximately 1 million smartphone users.” When asked about threats to privacy, Suk said eye-tracking enables companies to collect one’s intimate and unconscious responses without saving their personal data. “We have neither the technology nor the intention to identify a person and save their private data. We only take into account users’ pupil movements to analyze, model and predict behavior,” Suk said. “It’s different from iris scanning, which follows facial recognition.”
He highlighted that the services will be available only to users who consent to camera policies. Suk said the company’s primary goal for the moment is to successfully take root in China and expand its presence to the U.S. and Europe. “We will distribute our services in China, the U.S. and Europe and develop it into the best analytical solution widely used in the global market,” he said. “Chinese manufacturers have shown much interest in our technology because they still have a high market share of desktop operating systems and are searching for innovative ideas.” Suk said the company will enhance its quality on VR/AR areas and expand its market by combining the technology with various devices such as smartphones. “We will continue to strengthen tools of remote eye-trackers and advance algorithms to provide better services. Also we aim to build partnerships with global firms to lead new opportunities,” he said. VisualCamp has won multiple awards, including V-Award from VR Expo 2019 and the Prime Minister Award from 2019 ImpaCT-ech Award, also known as the Korea Multimedia Technology Awards, for its eye-tracking technology and analysis software. It will participate in MWCS 2019 scheduled from June 26 to 28 to meet with foreign buyers.