Apple’s mixed reality headset could feature eye tracking and iris recognition

Apple’s rumored mixed reality headset might feature both eye-tracking and iris tracking, as per a new investor’s note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Both these features point to the likely possibility that the mixed reality headset will be an expensive first-generation product.

Apple Mixed reality AR headset

Apple’s mixed reality headset would track eyeball movement

As per a note by Ming-Chi Kuo, shared by MacRumors, the eye-tracking system will utilize a transmitter and receiver which will help detect eyeball movement and transmit it into data that can be used by the headset.

Apple’s eye tracking system includes a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitting end provides one or several different wavelengths of invisible light, and the receiving end detects the change of the invisible light reflected by the eyeball, and judges the eyeball movement based on the change.

Kuo believes that this eye-tracking system will be used for navigation, instead of a handheld controller, to allow for a smooth user experience. Eye-tracking would also mean that the system could optimize the interface for the user’s view, and reduce resolution in places where the user is not looking. Kuo says that Iris recognition, although unconfirmed, might possibly be used in the mixed-reality headset to offer an intuitive Apple Pay experience.

Previously, The Information had revealed that Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset will feature 8K displays, swappable headbands, and eye-tracking. However, the publication had reported that a “thimble-like device” is being tested that can be worn around a user’s finger and used to control the user interface. Apple’s Dan Riccio is currently focused on leading the projects that will launch these new AR/VR headsets in the coming years.

Our take

Having used virtual reality headsets, we are not sure how eye-tracking would be able to replace handheld controllers. The latest controllers provide smooth movement and haptic feedback, both of which cannot be replicated merely by eye-tracking. Any form of eye-tracking implemented in smartphones so far has been gimmicky, so we doubt that Apple would just go with it alone.

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