Toronto startup ModiFace invests $4M to train U of T students in augmented reality

Imagine a touch-screen phone you don’t have to touch. The phone’s camera tracks your eye movement around the screen. You just look at a button instead of tapping it. “Gaze-tracking” isn’t here yet, but could be very soon. It’s just one of many new possibilities in the emerging field of augmented-reality technology (AR). But to achieve those possibilities, tech companies need new talent, and that’s why University of Toronto professor and high-tech entrepreneur Parham Aarabi announced a $4-million investment in U of T on Tuesday.

“The biggest limitation to how much we can grow is our ability to recruit and find augmented-reality engineers,” Aarabi said.

Aarabi is the founder and CEO of ModiFace, a Toronto-based augmented-reality startup. His investment will fund student internships and research at U of T’s engineering department.

AR is closely associated with artificial intelligence (AI). It involves computer-generated changes to images of the real world, such as Snapchat filters or the popular Pokemon Go smartphone game.