Oculus buys hand-tracking firm Pebbles Interfaces

Oculus Rift
Now that Facebook owns VR firm Oculus, the firm has much deeper pockets, allowing it to simply buy companies that offer technology that could make its VR offering all the more impressive. Today, Oculus took to its blog to announce that it had acquired another such firm, this time the hand tracking firm known as Pebbles Interfaces.

“We’re excited to announce,” runs Oculus’s related statement, “that we’ve entered into an agreement to acquire Pebbles Interfaces — one of the leading teams in depth sensing technology and computer vision.”

Because the acquisition is still in the early stages, Oculus has not announced any plans for what it intends to do with the company and its technology, but with the outcry of people who were not happy that an Xbox controller was the first method of input for the headset, having real hand-tracking down the line could help make the VR experience quite a bit more authentic.

Oculus didn’t officially disclose a dollar amount for the purchase, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook paid $60 million to bring the company and its technology into the fold.

As for Pebbles Interfaces, the key advance that the Israel-based firm has developed is technology that offers the ability for a user to see their own hands and fingers when looking at them in VR, something that helps to remove a great deal of the disconnect between the real world and the virtual one. Oculus says that, “Pebbles Interfaces will be joining the hardware engineering and computer vision teams at Oculus to help advance virtual reality, tracking, and human-computer interactions.”

Oculus posted a demo video of the technology, which you can see below:

This is another in a fairly long line of acquisitions for Oculus, with the company having just recently purchased Nimble VR and Surreal Vision. In total, Oculus has purchased six other firms, and with Facebook behind it, there’s every reason to expect that more purchases of companies that can help improve its VR offering are to follow.

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