SensoMotoric Instruments

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SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH
TypePrivately owned
IndustryHardware and software development
HeadquartersTeltow, Germany
Key people
Ali Sahin (Managing Director)
ProductsEye tracking solutions[buzzword]
Eye Tracking Glasses Natural Gaze, released in 2014. Photo by SMI.
RED250mobile eye tracker, released in 2014; screen showing a scan path on a text. Photo by SMI.

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI)[1] was a German provider of dedicated computer vision applications with a major focus on eye tracking technology. SMI was founded in 1991 as a spin-off from academic and medical research at the Free University of Berlin. The company has its headquarters in Teltow near Berlin, Germany, offices in Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California, in the United States, and a worldwide distributor and partner network.

SMI provided eye tracking systems for scientific research, professional solutions[buzzword] and OEM applications. The eye trackers can be combined with motion tracking systems,[2] EEG,[3][4] and other biometric data.[5] They can be integrated into virtual reality CAVEs,[6] head-mounted displays – such as Google Glass[7][8] or Oculus Rift,[9][10][11] simulators, cars, or computers as a measurement or interaction modality.


The company was founded by Dr. Winfried Teiwes in 1991.[12] SMI's first system 3D VOG was employed by the ESA, the NASA and on board of the Russian space station Mir to analyze the effect of space missions on gravity-responsive torsional eye movements of astronauts.[13] Gradually the company shifted its focus from astronautics towards ophthalmology and scientific research. Dr. Teiwes remained the company's Managing Director until 2008, when Eberhard Schmidt took over this role. After the sale of the ENT productline to Interacoustics – the diagnostics arm of William Demant Group – in 2001,[14] the spin-out of the retinal treatment activities into OD-OS in 2008,[15] and the sale of the Ophthalmic division to Alcon in 2012,[16][17] the company focused on scientific and professional eye tracking research solutions[buzzword], virtual reality applications, and OEM integrations.

Technology and Products[edit]

The technology is based on the dark pupil and corneal reflection tracking: The cameras in the SMI eye trackers detect face, eyes, pupils, as well as the corneal reflections from the infrared light sources, and calculate eye movements, gaze direction and points of regard. The sampling frequency of the eye trackers ranges from 30 Hz up to the kHz range.

On the hardware side the company has three main product lines: mobile Eye Tracking Glasses (ETG),[18][19][20] remote eye tracking systems (RED)[21][22][23] and tower-mounted systems (Hi-Speed).

The software for experimental design and data analysis is called Experiment Suite and comes in different packages depending on the user's research interests.


At the CES 2016, SMI demoed a new 250 Hz eye tracking system and a working foveated rendering solution.[buzzword] It resulted from a partnership with camera sensor manufacturer Omnivision who provided the camera hardware for the new system.[24]

In 2015 DEWESoft together with SMI integrated the Eye Tracking Glasses into a driver machine monitoring and analysis platform for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).[25]

In 2014 Red Bull started using the Eye Tracking Glasses as part of their Red Bull Surf Science project.[26][27] At the Game Developers Conference 2014, Sony unveiled the prototype of PlayStation 4 game Infamous: Second Son with the RED-oem eye tracking system integrated into it.[28][29][30]

In 2013 TechViz integrated SMI's 3D Eye Tracking Glasses[31][32] with TechViz 3D visualization software to enable eye tracking in a virtual reality CAVE. The 3D Eye Tracking Glasses were developed in partnership with Volfoni.[33] In the same year WorldViz started cooperating with SMI to enable calculation intersects of gaze vectors with 3D objects and saving the data in one common database for deeper analysis.[34] German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) used the Eye Tracking Glasses to create Talking Places – the prototype of an interactive city guide.[35][36]

In 2012, in partnership with Emotiv SMI developed a software package that combined the EEG data from the Emotiv EEG Neuroheadset with the eye tracking data.[37] Neuromarketers can use this software to analyze consumer reactions to brands according to visual and emotional cues. Prentke Romich Company integrated SMI's NuEye eye-gaze accessory into its speech-generating platform for people with disabilities.[38] The system allows users to control a communication device using only their eyes. Visual Interaction offers myGaze eye tracking accessory based on SMI technology with selected software packages for assistive applications.[39][40]


It was reported that Apple acquired SMI in June 2017.[41][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SMI company Archived 2017-03-13 at the Wayback Machine. SMI. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Ben Coxworth (May 9, 2014) Two-part system tracks body movement and gaze. Gizmag. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Emotiv and SMI Combine Remote Eye Tracking and EEG: A Perfect Match! Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. Reuters. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  4. ^ Hisham Abboud (January 4, 2014) New: Cedrus Introduces StimTracker for SMI Eye Trackers. Cedrus. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  5. ^ SensoMotoric Instruments and Noldus Information Technology combine eye tracking and video analysis. Noldus. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Ben Lang (February 8, 2013) SMI Introduces 3D Glasses With Eye Tracking. Road to VR. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  7. ^ SMI Gaze Interaction Powers Google Glass Prototype Archived 2015-04-22 at the Wayback Machine. Reuters. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Stephen Hall (April 16, 2015). SMI’s Google Glass eye-tracking prototype is impressive. Google Glass Fans. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  9. ^ Jamie Feltham (November 17, 2014). SMI Launches Oculus Rift Eye Tracking Upgrade Package. VR Focus. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  10. ^ Dave LeClair (November 21, 2014). SMI announces eye-tracking upgrade for Oculus Rift. Gizmag. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Oliver Kreylos (June 2, 2014). An Eye-tracked Oculus Rift. Doc-ok. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Alio, J.L. Surgical Techniques in Ophthalmology: Strabismus Surgery. JP Medical Ltd, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  13. ^ ISS Symposium Berlin: The Effect of Gravity on Eye Movements. PRLOG. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Interacoustics acquires 2D VOG family from SMI. Hearing Review. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  15. ^ About OD-OS. OD-OS. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  16. ^ Alcon history Archived 2014-07-01 at the Wayback Machine. Alcon. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  17. ^ Alcon acquisition. Eyewire Today. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  18. ^ Jeff Mackey (Dec 22, 2014). A new, less cumbersome way to track consumer eye movement. WRLWND. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Edwin Kee (September 19, 2011). Eye Tracking glasses unveiled. Ubergizmo. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  20. ^ Steve Dent (August 28, 2013). SMI launches Eye Tracking Glasses 2.0 with smartphone-based recorder. Engadget. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  21. ^ Alan Brandon (November 16, 2010) 500 Hz remote eye tracker watches what you watch. Gizmag. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  22. ^ Edwin Kee (January 6, 2014) SensoMotoric Instruments Delivers SMI RED-n Consumer Eye Control Technology. Ubergizmo. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  23. ^ Ringier Medical (November 17, 2014). Contact-free eye tracking systems at SfN 2014. Industry Sourcing. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  24. ^ Mason, Will (2016-01-15). "SMI's 250Hz Eye Tracking and Foveated Rendering Are For Real, and the Cost May Surprise You". UploadVR. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  25. ^ SMI and DEWESoft Introduce Driver Machine Monitoring and Analysis Platform for ADAS Development. Yahoo Finance. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  26. ^ Freddy Lopez (April 3, 2015). Red Bull Explores Eye-Tracking Technology to Enhance Surfing Performance. SportTechie. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  27. ^ Nate Hoppes (November 4, 2014). This Is What Happens When Scientists Go Surfing. Red Bull. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  28. ^ Chris Kohler (March 25, 2014). Magical Prototype Lets You Play PS4 With Your Eyeballs. Wired. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  29. ^ Sean Hollister (March 20, 2014). Could throwing fireballs with your eyes be the future of PlayStation?. The Verge. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  30. ^ Luke Plunkett (March 20, 2014). Sony Tech Lets You Play Games Using Your Eyes. Kotaku. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  31. ^ Zach Honig (February 4, 2013). SMI Eye-Tracking 3D Glasses use rim-based cameras to adjust perspective. Engadget. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  32. ^ Thomas Anderson (February 4, 2013). Video: SMI debuts 3D eye-tracking device. TG Daily. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  33. ^ SMI reveals first 3D glasses with full eye tracking capability Archived 2014-04-03 at Volfoni. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  34. ^ WorldViz Partners. WorldViz. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  35. ^ Daniel Cooper (March 5, 2013). 'Talking Places' is the Google Glass of tour guides, we go hands-on. Engadget. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  36. ^ Museum Guide 2.0 and TALKING PLACES. DFKI. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  37. ^ Emotiv and SMI Combine Remote Eye Tracking and EEG: A Perfect Match! Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. Reuters. Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  38. ^ New eye-gaze technology may be your next mouse. Computer Dealer News. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  39. ^ Mike Stubbsy (November 18, 2013). MyGaze Eye Controller is a real next gen. GodIsAGeek. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  40. ^ Inclusive EyeGaze Foundations. Inclusive Technology. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  41. ^ Apple acquires SMI eye-tracking company TechCrunch. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  42. ^ SMI and Apple: What It Means for the Future of Eye Tracking iMotions. Retrieved October 30, 2017.