Oculus Expanding 3D Virtual Hand-Tracking With New Company Acquisition

Israel-based Pebbles Interfaces will work alongside Oculus engineers to advance virtual reality.

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Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, on Thursday announced that it has acquired Israel-based depth-sensing and computer vision specialist company Pebbles Interfaces. They are not to be confused with Pebble, the company behind another Kickstarter success story, the Pebble Watch.

In a blog post, Oculus said Pebbles has been working for the last five years on creating technology that "uses custom optics, sensor systems, and algorithms to detect and track hand movement."

Oculus goes as far to say that breakthroughs in technology of this kind will "unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in virtual worlds."

Take a look at some of Pebbles' astonishing work in the video below.

As part of the acquisition, the terms of which are being kept secret, Pebbles will join Oculus' hardware engineering and computer visions teams to create new solutions for VR and human-computer interactions.

As you might have guessed, Pebbles CTO Nadav Grossinger sounds excited about the deal.

“At Pebbles Interfaces, we've been focused on pushing the limits of digital sensing technology to accelerate the future of human-computer interaction," he said. "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."

Last month, Oculus revealed a new proprietary controller called Oculus Touch.

Oculus VR is owned by social networking giant Facebook. Founder Mark Zuckerberg recently said he believes virtual reality will become the "next major computing and communication platform."

The first Oculus Rift consumer model is scheduled to launch in the first part of 2016. Pricing has not been officially announced, but Oculus has said you should expect to pay around $1,500 for an "all-in" setup, which includes the headset (which comes with an Xbox One controller) and a capable gaming rig.

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