(Pocket-lint) - When you read you don't move your head from side-to-side, just your eyes. And when you are looking around in your normal field of vision, you are not expected to make sharp and distinct head movements either. But that is what we are expected to do when it comes to wearing a virtual reality headset.
HTC's Vive, Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus might have everybody excited thanks to head tracking responsiveness, but they haven't yet cracked tracking your eyes - not in the current models at least.
Eye-tracking is, according to Kickstarter-backed newcomer Fove, the next must have thing when it comes to VR and something that none of the leading devices to hit the streets in the next 12 months are anywhere near getting right.
Less than 12 months in development, Fove combines a standard looking 2560 x 1440 VR display with precision eye-tracking and motion tracking, allowing users to fully explore 360-by-360-degree virtual worlds using both their head and, importantly, eyes.
Pocket-lint was treated to a demo ahead of its official launch, and CTO and co-founder Lochlainn Wilson took us through two different experiences designed to show what's possible when VR meets eye-tracking.
In the first, we were tasked with shooting aliens out of the sky merely by looking at them - just like Cyclops from X-Men.
It was a simple but effective illustration of how the technology works, and it works well. We could easily see how this would help add an extra level of control to VR experiences beyond having to use external controllers or head movements.
The second demo, while incredibly rough around the edges, was the more exciting of the two. Because the software knows where a user is looking, just like in real life, it focused the images directly where we stared but added blur to the rest of the virtual world, much like the short focal length of a decent camera lens.
This not only created a more realistic virtual experience for our test, but also has huge ramifications for the type of experiences games developers could supply. They will have to reassess what their games can do in terms of graphical performance and programming.
"With Fove we have been able to combine a cutting edge display with eye-tracking, orientation sensing and head position tracking to create one seamless experience, benefitting a wide audience," explained Wilson.
"By calculating the subtle parallax between pupils, Fove can present virtual environments with realistic depth of field, improving immersion and allowing eyes to relax when viewing objects at varying depths."
The key of course is that it replicates real life more realistically and is therefore more convincing.
In our demo, looking at a bad guy shooting at us brought him into focus with the background staying blurred - classic depth of field stuff. We looked away and the background flipped into focus naturally, delivering a more realistic experience.
One other possible benefit of this is that developers could forego graphical fidelity in far distance objects, such as the crowd or scenery in a racing game. That means less effort, energy and processing power will be needed on reproducing the background in crystal clear graphical wizardry.
And that lack of graphical demand means that you need not be reliant on the enormous processing power of an external PC or console. You could, in theory, dump a connection to a beefy PC altogether, and the wires - the holy grail of VR. It also means that you could run powerful VR games from a mobile phone.
The cutting-edge, eye-tracking virtual reality headset which has already received venture capitalist backing, is aiming for $250,000 worth of funding on Kickstarter, which Fove hopes to gain by selling developer units for $349 apiece. They will be delivered later this year, although the company is wary of promising when a consumer project will be delivered.
That could be its biggest hurdle we feel and suspect that with so many bigger players in the market, each with much greater marketing budgets and consumer clout, the company could be snapped up before it gets it product to market.
And while that could be great news for the company and potential end users, it will have to learn to deal with Kickstarter backers in a more delicate way than Oculus did during its sell-out to Facebook.