Oculus has purchased Pebbles, an Israeli company that has been working on technology to simulate your hands in the virtual reality world. The amount of money paid hasn’t been disclosed.
This isn’t the first time that Oculus has purchased a company specializing in hand motion sensory tech, either. Back in December, Oculus also purchased Nimble VR. Oculus itself is owned by Facebook, after being acquired by the social media giant last year in a deal reported to be worth an eye-watering $2 billion.
Oculus’s goal is to implement cameras and sensors in an attempt to virtualize your hands into the world of the Oculus Rift. The technology looks impressive so far, with the demonstration video (which you can view below) showing someone locking his hands together, wiggling his fingers and passing one hand behind the other, which all seems to be picked up without issue. The video also shows the rendered hand (and later a card) picking up and balancing a small object. Other than some slight screen-tearing, everything appears to work smoothly.
Since players’ lack of hands was a problem that was interfering with immersion, this seems like a natural step forward for the Oculus Rift.
“At Pebbles Interfaces, we’ve been focused on pushing the limits of digital sensing technology to accelerate the future of human-computer interaction,” a spokesperson for Pebbles said in a statement. “Through micro-optics and computer vision, we hope to improve the information that can be extracted from optical sensors, which will help take virtual reality to the next level.
“We’ve always believed visual computing will be the next major platform in our lifetime, and we’re excited to join the Oculus team to achieve that vision for the future.”
The Rift headset is currently slated for a full commercial release sometime early this year, following what feels like an age in development. Widely credited with reigniting the public’s interest in Virtual Reality, the Rift headset utilizes motion sensing technology and dual displays in order to place the user inside a virtual world. A large number of commercial games already support the headset, including Elite: Dangerous and the upcoming indie puzzler Dream.