Interested in learning what's next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Register today.

Google may one day make our virtual avatars more expressive by tracking our eyes. This is according to a patent published last week in which the company details a system for “Classifying Facial Expressions Using Eye-Tracking Cameras.” According to the description, the method uses “one or more eye tracking sensors implemented into one or more head mounted devices.”

Eye-tracking is thought to be one of the next big things for VR, though that’s largely because an accurate, reliable system will enable foveated rendering, which only fully renders the area of a screen the user is directly looking at. Google, however, wants to use an algorithm to scan a user’s expression in real-time and then translate that into a virtual expression on their avatar.

The patent also notes that these expressions could be personalized, which we’d guess means developers would be able to make reactions work with their style of avatar. The cheery little diagram below shows you how slight changes in the size and shape of an eye could change what others see when they look at your virtual avatar.


GamesBeat Summit Next 2022

Join gaming leaders live this October 25-26 in San Francisco to examine the next big opportunities within the gaming industry.

Register Here

If accurate, such a system could be revolutionary to social VR applications which, notably, Google doesn’t have yet. Of course, it also doesn’t have a VR headset with an embedded eye-tracking sensor just yet but, if it did, you’d have to imagine this was just one of a variety of potential uses for the tech.

Given that Google only just released the Lenovo Mirage Solo Daydream headset (and is busy bringing 6DOF controllers to it), we wouldn’t expect to see anything come of this patent for a good while yet.

This story first appeared on UploadVR, our syndication partner.

This story originally appeared on Copyright 2018

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn more about membership.