Eye tracking could be in the cards for HoloLens 2

We already know of some confirmed and rumored upgrades due to debut with the next iteration of the Microsoft HoloLens, including a dedicated Holographic Processing Unit and, potentially, a move to an ARM processor, but a newly published patent could be our window into a much more impactful addition: eye tracking. The patent, filed by Microsoft in 2017 and published today, describes an eye tracking setups that seeks to solve the downsides presented by typical eye tracking systems while giving users a way to interact with augmented reality (AR) content.

Integrated eye tracking would give a HoloLens 2, or any other head-mounted display (HMD), a whole new input method for interacting with content on the display. The HMD could track a user's gaze to adjust the way content is displayed, while also allowing users to input commands using only their eyes.

The only downside? Typical eye tracking systems can add weight, eat up processing power, and interfere with a user's field of view. All three of these problems are what Microsoft set out to solve with its patented system. From the patent summary:

To address the issues discussed above, an eye-tracking system is provided that includes a light source configured to emit at least infrared (IR) light and a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) scanning mirror configured to direct the IR light. The system may further include a relay including at least one prism, and the relay is configured to receive the IR light directed by the MEMS scanning mirror and redirect the IR light. The system may further include at least one sensor configured to receive the IR light after being reflected by the eye.

HoloLens Eye Tracking Patent

The current HoloLens headset leans on a combination of hand gestures to support user interaction. Adopting an eye tracking system would allow Microsoft to either drop hand gestures completely or use them in combination with gaze interactions. Further, it could make HoloLens and other HMDs more accessible for those with disabilities who may have a hard time using the current gesture controls.

Eye tracking isn't completely new to Microsoft. The company added native support for eye-tracking devices, like those from Tobii, in Windows 10 last year as an accessibility upgrade, allowing people with disabilities to control their desktop without using a keyboard or mouse.

HoloLens Eye Tracking

As with all patents, it's worth noting that this tech may never make its way into a shipping product in this form at all. Microsoft patents things all of the time that either never leave the lab or end up acting as a base for further iterations. Still, we're days away now from Microsoft's MWC 2019 event, where it's expected to launch the HoloLens 2,, so we'll know for sure what Microsoft may be planning before too long.

Thanks to Steven for the tip!

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

The newest device in the Echo family, the Show 5, is now down to just $50
Echo Show 5
$49.99 $89.99 Save $40

It's only been on the market since May, but it hasn't escaped the Prime Day price cuts.

Amp up your home security with these huge Prime Day discount on nearly all Ring products
Save on Ring products today only

Whether you need a video doorbell, whole home alarm system, or some lights to brighten a dark area, Amazon has it all marked down today!

These huge price drops on the entire Galaxy S10 lineup might be one of the best Prime Day phone deals we'll see
Samsung Galaxy S10 128GB unlocked Prism Black Android smartphone
$599.99 $900.00 Save $300

We love the Galaxy S10, and we love deals. This combines two of our true loves in one!

Scour Amazon Warehouse's deals to save an extra 20% on tech and more through Prime Day
Extra 20% off Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse sells a myriad of items in varying conditions, from refurbished to open-box, used, warehouse-damaged, and more. It's a great place to snag a deal, and now Prime members can save an extra 20% off select items at checkout.

There's never been a better deal on the Ring Video Doorbell 2 than this pre-Prime Day offer
Ring Video Doorbell 2 (Certified Refurbished)
$89.99 $169.99 Save $80

Amazon is taking $80 off the certified refurbished Ring Video Doorbell 2, which lets you see and speak with visitors at your front door no matter where you are in the world.

More Prime Day Deals