Looking at the industry, what are some of the major milestones in eye tracking?

What companies have been around the longest? Which ones have come and gone?

asked 29 Sep '14, 17:04

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phyatt ♦♦
accept rate: 8%

A Comprehensive History of Eye Tracking

Eye Tracking (aka, gaze tracking) has a complex history especially in recent years as different technologies have driven different aspects. The following is an attempt to organize historical events that involve or have significantly influenced eye tracking. If you notice something is missing, please comment or contact eye tech to add it to the charts/lists.

Because a lot of the technology of eye tracking is driven by connectivity of cameras to computers and portable devices for use by disabled users, milestones in those industries are included below.

For EyeTech's own company by itself, please see its facebook timeline: https://www.facebook.com/eyetechds


Dodge and Cline - Eye Tracking with a Photographic Plate (1901)

developed the first precise, non-invasive eye tracking technique, using light reflected from the cornea. Their system recorded only horizontal eye position onto a falling photographic plate and required the participant’s head to be motionless.

ASL - Applied Science Laboratories founded (1962)

Refinements to Eye Tracking in Scientific Studies (1970's)

Military Eye Tracking Projects - Early Remote Eye Tracking (1970's)

The discovery that multiple reflections from the eye could be used to dissociate eye rotations from head movement (Cornsweet and Crane, 1973) increased tracking precision and also prepared the ground for developments resulting in greater freedom of participant movement.

ASL developed the first video based eye tracker (1974)

LC Technologies founded (1986)

SMI - SensoMotoric Instruments founded (1991)

Firewire and Firewire Cameras becomes commercially available (IEEE 1394 interface) (1995)

EyeTech founded (1996)

Sentient Systems Technology changes name to Dynavox (1998)

SR Research (1998?)

USB 1.1 interface released (August 1998)

Seeing Machines founded (June 1999)

SmartEye founded (1999)

USB 2.0 Cameras are commercially available (April 2000)

Microsoft Tablet PC's are introduced (2001)

Tobii founded (2001)

Low cost WebCam's come to market (early 2000's)

TabletKiosk (Sahara Tablet PC, iSlate) founded (2003)

Eye Response Technologies founded (2003?)

Eye-Com Corp founded (2004?)

Youtube founded (February 2005)

Ergoneers founded (2005)

Facebook opens registration to public (September 2006)

Alea founded (October 2006)

emsense founded (2006?)

Dynavox releases EyeMax (2008)

USB 3.0 interface released (November 2008)

Mirametrix founded (2008)

Kickstarter founded (April 2009)

SeeTech founded (2009?)

Dynavox files IPO (January 2010)

Apple iPad (tablet) comes to market (April 2010)

Microsoft Kinect 1.0 comes to market (Prime Sense Technology) (November 2010)

Leap Motion founded (2010)

Apple Thunderbolt interface - eventually replaces Firewire (February 2011)

EyeTribe founded (June 2011)

EyeCan launched (October 2011)

Android OS comes to tablets (2011)

Intel Capital invests $21M in Tobii (March 2012)

Microsoft Windows Surface Tablet released (June 2012)

Samsung includes Smart Stay on Galaxy S III (June 2012)

Oculus Rift funded on Kickstarter (September 2012)

Gazepoint founded (April 2013)

Samsung includes Smart Pause and Smart Scroll - Eye Scroll on Galaxy S4 (April 2013)

NUIA eyeCharm funded on Kickstarter (April 2013)

NUIA eyeCharm in patent litigation with Tobii (August 2013)

EyeTribe in patent litigation with Tobii (December 2013)

Eyefluence founded (2013) - merged with Eye-Com

CES in Las Vegas has a dedicated Motion Tech Area (January 2014)

Tobii aquires Dynavox (May 2014)

Important Related Technologies

Head Tracker Face Detection Voice Dictation Speech Generation Devices Tablets iPad Android Wearable Technology (Meta glasses) Kinect Firewire

Organizations Related to EyeTracking

COGAIN ETRA EyeTracking Update

Research Partners

Mangold International iMotions EyeTracking Inc Design Interactive EyeTracking Tools (Morea)

Open Source Eye Tracking Projects


University Projects

Lund University University of Alaska Durham University University of Arizona SFU


EyeSpeak Oculus Rift XBox Kinect Eye Tracker

Passive Illumination Research



LC Technologies SMI PRC Tobii Seeing Machines Alea SeeTech EyeTribe Eyefluence

Short Lived Companies

Eye Response (University of Virgina) EyeCan EyeCom emSense

Eye Tracking Patent Activity

IBM acquired a number of patents and has sold them off to different entities over the years.

Investment Activity

Eye Tracking Studies as a Service

Eye Tracking in Insurance

Medicare Medicaid changes

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 14 Oct '14, 19:47

phyatt's gravatar image

phyatt ♦♦
accept rate: 8%

edited 30 Oct '14, 17:55

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Asked: 29 Sep '14, 17:04

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Last updated: 30 Oct '14, 17:55

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