Virtual Reality Headset Uses Eye Tracking Technology, Potential Applications for PALS

A new cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) headset that uses eye-tracking technology is gaining traction on Kickstarter and has already exceeded its fundraising goal. The headset, developed by Tokyo-based startup, FOVE, uses infrared sensors to detect the position and orientation of users’ eyes, which can control games and programs through movement and blinking. Considering how transformative eye-tracking technologies have been in assistive communication devices for ALS patients and others with motor disabilities, this device has potential for exciting therapeutic applications. For example, in collaboration with University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged, FOVE developers created a program for a teenager with ALS to play an electric piano by selecting chords through eye movements. Nevertheless, Dr. Albert Rizzo, a Director of Medical Virtual Reality at University of Southern California, stated that “he would want to see a clearly defined value proposition before predicting that FOVE will be revolutionary in the field”. The headsets will be distributed in Spring of 2016 once the eye-tracking technology is improved and the safety of the infrared lights is confirmed.

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