December 18, 2014
Oculus, the virtual reality company picked up by Facebook in March, has acquired two startups that may bring hand-tracking and better mapping of 3D interiors to the Oculus Rift headset. Nimble VR (formerly 3Gear Systems) is the startup behind Nimble Sense, a camera that connects to the headset and uses Kinect-like technology to track a user’s hands and sync movements to the user’s VR experience. Oculus also bought 13th Lab, a computer vision and augmented reality firm focused on 3D reconstruction.
Nimble VR’s product includes hardware and software that allows better hand-tracking. With the technology, Oculus Rift may finally be able to take data about the user’s actual hand movements and incorporate that into VR content.
“The device in question is a depth-sensing camera with infrared — like the Kinect, or the Leap Motion controller — equipped with software specially designed for skeletal hand tracking,” notes CNET. “This was designed to be mounted onto the top of the Oculus Rift headset, with the cameras angled down at the user’s hands for gesture control and manually interacting with 3D objects in a virtual world.”
Nimble VR’s Kickstarter goal was $62,500 and it had raised twice that by time the campaign was canceled in light of the acquisition, reports TechCrunch.
The other Oculus-acquired startup, 13th Lab, works on computer vision, image detection, and augmented reality. One of its most notable achievements is the ability to create 3D maps from image data, particularly turning rooms into 3D environments.
Oculus did not indicate how much it paid for Nimble VR or 13th Lab.
Oculus Boosts its Computer Vision Team with Trio of Acquisitions, GigaOM, 12/11/14
Oculus is Buying a Company that Brings Hands into Virtual Reality, Engadget, 12/11/14