Following in the footsteps of many successful companies with money. Oculus has acquired two companies Nimble VR and 13th Lab. Oculus has already said their headset is pretty much complete but needed to focus on the control element. This has been the focus of these two acquisitions.
The first of those acquisitions is Nimble VR. The two-year-old company has been developing skeletal hand tracking and software and a depth-sensing camera called the Nimble Sense to bring Oculus Rift users' hands into the VR experience they are viewing with gesture recognition. The company was running a Kickstarter campaign back in October to fund Nimble Sense. The Kickstarter campaign is officially canceled as of Wednesday but did blew past their $62,500 goal thanks to 1,076 backers pledging $135,511.
From their Kickstarter page:
"The Nimble Sense captures a 3D point cloud across a 110 degree field of view. Combined with the world's most robust skeletal hand tracking software, the Nimble Sense delivers low-latency, accurate hand input to provide the simple experience of having both hands in VR,"
The camera itself is small enough to be mounted on the Oculus Rift or on a desk. The device uses time-of-flight technology and can not only detect where the user's hand is located, but identify the joints of each finger. The information gathered by the sensor is provided by an API that developers can insert into their application.
Oculus of course will be looking to fully integrate this into the headset for the Oculus Rift Consumer version 1.
The second company Oculus acquired is 13th Lab, which has developed accurate, marker-less augmented reality tracking and real-time 3D construction framework technology. What is that? Oculus stated:
"The ability to acquire accurate 3D models of the real-world can enable all sorts of new applications and experiences, like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Colosseum in VR,"
OK. that would be cool!
Finally Chris Bregler has joined the Oculus team. Chris is an expert in the motion capture space. His recent projects include visual tracking for The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness movies, both of which were nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Nimble VR, 13th Lab, and Chris will all be winding down their existing projects to focus on VR full-time at Oculus as part of both product engineering and Oculus Research. Steadily moving towards the Oculus Rift Consumer Version 1.
Nimble VR VIdeo
13th Lab demo of in car navigation (I remember an Audi demo of something like this. Very cool)