Irisbond Opens US Office to Boost Its Eye-Based Device Management Technology | Companies

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 Irisbond Opens US Office to Boost Its Eye-Based Device Management Technology |  Companies

The Spanish company Irisbond, which has developed software and an eye-tracking device or eye tracking to interact with devices through the eyes, it has created a subsidiary in Delaware, USA, and will open a commercial office in the country this year. Quite possibly in the Boston area, where they have key partners and customers. In addition, as they explain from the company, a future business area in which they are working is the early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, and the East Coast, and in particular Boston, is a hub very important in this type of disciplines.

The firm takes this step after becoming the first Spanish company to offer this technology that obtains the certification Made for Ipad from Apple, which will allow you to use your Hiru device with the tech giant’s iPad tablets. “We have been betting on the US market for three years, doubling our turnover year after year, and operating it from Spain, but having this certification, which has cost us more than two years, opens up a much larger market for us, since the US is a country that is very sensitive to Apple technology”, says the founder and CEO of the company, Eduardo Jáuregui.

The Basque company, founded in 2013, has hired Mark Maragni to lead the development of the business in the US, where they expect to close this year with a local team of around 3 people. It is the third country where they will have their own office, after Spain and Argentina, the country from where they lead all their activity in Latin America. Irisbond solutions are currently present in 36 countries in Europe, South America and North America through its distribution network.

Jáuregui highlights that Hiru, launched in 2020, is the first device eye tracking multi-platform in the world. This means that it is capable of being compatible with all operating systems on different devices, from a computer, to an ATM, an elevator or access control in an office building.

The company invoiced the year last 1.5 million euros (“unlike other competitors we have grown during the pandemic”) and is in break-even. Jáuregui acknowledges, however, that the investments they have planned for the coming years may lead them to give negative EBITDA.

The manager highlights that “the traction they are beginning to gain is important”, and advances that they plan to manufacture the devices they market in that market in the US. They will be produced by the same Basque company, P4Q, with which they work now, and which has plants in Bizkaia and Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA). “The goal is for the Irisbond Inc subsidiary to be completely autonomous by the end of the year to market and manufacture this product in the United States,” says the manager.

Returning to the certification that Apple has granted him, the founder of Irisbond assures that it is “a milestone” because today the technology of eye tracking it was only compatible with Windows devices. “Only applications running under the Microsoft operating system can be managed with the gaze. But, with this certification, what we have achieved is that our device, which is compatible with Windows like the rest of the competitors, is now also compatible with iOS”.

According to the manager, this approval is more than a stamp that allows them to officially connect to iOS devices. “It is a validation by Apple of our technological capacity, our quality system and even our business ambition, since the process that must be carried out to obtain certification is very complex. In addition, this allows us to have another degree of dialogue with Apple. In fact, we are now in Cupertino, from where we wanted to announce this milestone and we are having meetings with different teams from this company to continue improving the platform’s features and apply it to different business areas such as health or education, where they are working”.

Irisbond’s eye-tracking devices and technology are not only useful for people with physical limitations, such as those that suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or tetraplegia, which can only communicate with the eyes. Its applications are multiple in the automotive industry, robotics, neuromarketing or health. So, for example, a surgeon could activate a clinical history on a screen with his eyes while operating.

Jáuregui says that they are exploring different applications. In the area of ​​industrial integrations, they are working on different use cases that demonstrate how through the gaze you can interact with interfaces without having to touch, and in the world of health, they are doing a pilot with the University Hospital of San Sebastián to study how Hiru can help obtain information about neurological and ophthalmological diseases through eye movements.

“What has been shown is that the brain and the gaze are closely linked and, given certain stimuli, if we can identify the behavior of the gaze, we can extrapolate certain reactions or neuronal deficits and that can open the door to early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases” continues the executive. Irisbond’s technology not only allows you to interact with devices through your gaze, but also to collect information on where your gaze is going and how it behaves. And if this is combined with artificial intelligence algorithms, certain patterns can be generated that can be useful for analyzing human behavior or diagnosing diseases.

The company offers two platforms, one for software and one for hardware (Hiru). Both have been born from the same concept of eye tracking, but the second is based on a device that can be connected to iOS and Windows computers, and comes with an SDK so it can be integrated with other solutions. Irisbond’s software, on the other hand, uses artificial intelligence algorithms and the cameras embedded in the devices (mobile phones or tablets) to monitor the gaze. “The accuracy is lower than that offered by Hiru, because it does not have dedicated hardware, but the possibilities in terms of business model and scalability are much greater,” says Járuregui.

Hiru is not yet developed for Android, but the platform is supported. The manager assures that this will be the next step.

It is estimated that the market for eye tracking or eye tracking to grow from 368 million dollars in 2020 to 1,098 million in 2025. Currently, the greatest demand comes from the health sector, especially in care communication, and in the marketing sector, both to make personalized ads and to know the behavior of the audience.

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