Now it’s time to take a look at a South Korean business bringing about changes in the global economy with some new ideas.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to an eye-tracking technology developer named VisualCamp. Let’s hear from company CEO Suk Yun-chan (석윤찬).
VisualCamp was established in November 2014. It is a developer of eye-tracking technology that tracks where the user is looking at. Starting with eye-typing technology, the company has developed eye-tracking technology that is applicable with VR and mobile devices. The company completed core technology capable of tracking the position and movements of the eye on smartphones, PCs and tablets without using additional hardware. In brief, it has developed everything on eye-tracking technology from A to Z. On top of its technological prowess, the company boasts excellent business expandability.
Suk’s nickname is a serial startup creator. He majored in electronic engineering at Seoul National University. He started his own business as early as when he was a senior in university. He set up a video shopping mall and a social commerce startup. Based on his expertise in operating startups and an innovative business item, namely, eye-tracking technology, he founded VisualCamp in 2014.
“Eye-tracking” literally means “following one’s gaze.” Eyes are often referred to as the “windows of soul.” If you want to know if a person is telling the truth or not, you may look into his or her eyes. That is, you can read many things from people’s eyes.
VisualCamp is creating value in a variety of areas by identifying where people’s eyes fall on.
This technology can be used in many areas. In the education market, for example, the technology is used to monitor if students are absent, look at the screen properly or doze off. We provide MegaStudy, a local online education service company, with our tool that measures students’ engagement and their attention levels during the online lesson. This reporting tool is drawing great response. Our technology can be applied in a more advanced way when gauging people’s reading ability, like whether they understand a particular sentence clearly.
Visual Camp’s technology was also introduced in e-book services. Simply by looking at the automatic page turn button, readers can turn the page without having to lift a finger. Using this feature, people can read e-books easily while engaging in other tasks including cooking. It is also convenient for readers who can’t move their fingers and hands very well.
Eye-tracking technology is useful in shopping malls. It figures out particular products, on which shoppers’ gaze is fixed for a long time, even though they did not click on the products, and recommends customized goods for the shoppers. The technology is also helpful in live commerce used by many consumers these days. For example, discount coupons could be given when viewers become less interested in products, as the technology can measure viewers’ concentration levels. The potential of eye-tracking technology is also recognized in smart healthcare as well.
We’re aiming at the medical market. Currently, we’re collecting gaze data on senior citizens in Suncheon. The data can be used to diagnose dementia and mild cognitive impairment. If we collect the gaze data and analyze it successfully, our technology can be expanded to the healthcare area.
Of course, there are developers of eye-tracking technology around the world, other than VisualCamp. But companies boasting advanced technology have been acquired by major global firms such as Google, Apple and Facebook, reflecting that eye-tracking technology is one of the hot topics in the industry.
VisualCamp’s technology is certainly worth noting, as it can be applied to mobile devices without separate hardware. It may sound simple, but reading pupil movements through a regular camera embedded in a smartphone requires advanced technology. Regular cameras can secure less image information than infrared ones. Most of all, people look at their smartphones while standing, sitting, lying in bed or even walking. Developers have to figure out the position of pupils in various unfavorable conditions.
VisualCamp let artificial intelligence learn a huge amount of gaze data collected in different environments. It was able to develop the world’s first AI algorithm capable of tracking people’s gaze by analyzing images obtained from regular cameras.
Previous eye-tracking technology needs hardware, which is pretty expensive. Prices range from 18-hundred to 18-thousand dollars. Plus, additional programming is required. Our technology, in contrast, does not need hardware and is applied directly to smartphones, PCs and tablets. This is what differentiates our solution from its alternatives. The solution can be distributed to many more people at reasonable prices and its accuracy is similar to that of existing eye trackers. This is the key element of our core technology.
Global firms are putting a great deal of effort into research and development in order to secure core technologies. If a company possesses core technology, it means the company has secured a spot in the global market. Those who hope use VisualCamp’s technology have to pay royalty.
VisualCamp has received multiple awards. It won the Prime Minister Award twice in 2019 and it was selected as one of baby unicorn startups by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in 2020. This year, it won the Best Mobile Innovation Award at the Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona in June and the Innovation Award at the Consumer Electronics Show in November. The company was also included in the top three in the category of the Frontier Digital Technology at SLINGSHOT, a startup pitching competition in Singapore.
Following the recent U.S. patent registration for its technology, the company plans on expanding its business from Korea to Silicon Valley.
As we’ve developed reliable technology, our next goal is to increase sales and achieve sustainable growth. We’re also considering M&A or stock market listing.
I’m sure we can provide our technology to numerous companies around the world, and I think KBS World Radio, which has countless listeners all over the world, could be our sales channel. If any listeners out there are interested in our technology, please contact us. We and our partners will surely have win-win opportunities.
K-content, such as South Koreans movies and dramas, is enjoying worldwide popularity. In the content industry, eye-tracking technology can raise attention levels. By figuring out how long viewers’ gaze is focused on each scene, content creators can produce more scenes similar to those attracting greater attention from the viewers.
VisualCamp hopes that its eye-tracking technology will be applied to various other areas and it dreams of playing the role of a pacemaker in marathon. A pacemaker is a runner who leads a long-distance running event and sets an optimal pace of running to help other runners reach the finish line in due time. Likewise, VisualCamp is growing with the industry, contributing to sharpening the industry’s competitiveness.