OmniVision and SMI collaborating on virtual reality headset

OmniVision and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) have announced a collaboration to develop a virtual reality headset based on a CMOS image sensor and eye tracking technology.

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OmniVision and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) have announced a collaboration to develop a virtual reality headset based on a CMOS image sensor and eye tracking technology.

The alliance, which was announced at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will see OmniVision’s OVM6211 global shutter CameraCubeChip integrated into SMI’s virtual reality and augmented reality eye tracking platform. The OVM6211 is a 400 x 400 black and white CMOS image sensor that can achieve frame rates of up to 120 fps. The chip uses OmniVision’s 3 µm OmniPixel3-GSTM global shutter pixel and features high sensitivity in near infrared (NIR) wavelengths. Additionally, the OVM6211 measures just 3.23 x 3.23 x 3.92 mm.

With the OVM76211, SMI said that its eye tracking platform will be able to deliver high frame rates and low latency, enabling real-time, intuitive, and hands-free VR and AR experiences in devices such as VR headsets and smart glasses.

"By leveraging OmniVision’s latest sensor technology, we are able to offer an extremely compact, robust and fast eye tracking platform that can be easily integrated into a wide range of displays," said Christian Villwock, director of SMI’s OEM Solutions Business. "The combination of high performance and low power consumption in the OVM6211 aligns precisely with our advanced eye-tracking technology, and is critical in pushing the frontiers of natural user interfaces."

Will Foote, OmniVision’s partnership manager, also commented: "As the demand for VR and AR headsets increases rapidly, not only for gaming devices but also for professional, enterprise, academic and wider consumer applications, the availability of intuitive, hands-free user interfaces can become critical. We are excited to work alongside SMI, an industry leader of nearly 25 years, and help shape the future of this rapidly growing market segment."

What types of applications would you see yourself using virtual reality headsets for, if any? Will they strictly be for gaming purposes, or will they extend beyond consumer use? Let us know in the comments below.

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