Microsoft seeks patent to improve eye tracking with the next HoloLens

Kit McDonald

The HoloLens is by far one of Microsoft’s most popular inventions and even it is under construction still. With the numerous demos and presentations, it’s hard to forget that the augmented reality headset is still in development as proven by Microsoft’s most recently published patent application.

According to Phone Arena, the Redmond giant is looking to improve gaze tracking in the HoloLens by directly detecting the movement of the eye. Previously, technology to detect eye movement was based on using small cameras which could end up being a costly endeavor for Microsoft’s new toy. The documents on Patentscope show that instead, engineers want to use a cluster of capacitive sensors that will detect the shift of the cornea of the eye, using its shape to distinguish where the user’s gaze is looking.

While the idea is still only a patent application, this would be a major game changer for HoloLens users. Currently, it only detects movement of the head in an attempt to keep the device at a lower cost to end-users. Furthermore, using this method of eye gaze tracking would actually lower the power consumption of the device and in general, cause it to rely on a smaller PSU that can add bulk or weight to the headset.

It’s worth noting that in the patent application, these capacitive sensors have been considered for both a ‘head-mounted device’ or ‘wearable glasses’ which we can see in the figure image included:

It looks like Microsoft had been interested in the eye gaze tracking for a while now. In fact, the application was submitted over a year ago on June 6, 2015 and was just recently published. This could mean that the capacitive sensors are already in development or that the project has been shelved. Of course you can stay tuned to for all the latest, and follow us on Twitter, too!