Oculus VR has gone Christmas shopping and purchased a couple companies: Nimble VR on one side and 13th Lab on the other. In addition, in its latest statement the company also confirmed bringing Chris Bregler, an expert in the field of motion capture to the VR team.
Nimble VR is a company founded in 2012 and consists of a small team whose focus has been the development of a system that allows people to interact with machines easily using their hands and gestures. After a series of tests that included gloves colors first, and later several Kinect to set aside any extra marker and to detect the position of the hands more naturally, the company decided to create a 3D mini camera, the Nimble Sense, which can be coupled to Oculus Rift .
For this, the company relied on Kickstarter, where crowdsourced funding greatly exceeded investment from when the company ran on its own. However, that campaign was canceled following the acquisition by Oculus VR.
“Our work started off with color gloves, evolved into markerless tracking with multiple Kinect cameras, and eventually led to this Kickstarter for the Nimble Sense, a 3D camera that could be mounted on an Oculus Rift and bring hands into VR. All of this couldn’t have been possible without the support of our partners, our early users and the Nimble VR Team’s dedication and hard work,” the team said in a Kickstarter update announcing the acquisition.
“Today, we’re happy to share that we’ll be joining forces with Oculus, a team that is creating an entirely new medium, platform and industry. We’re excited not only to continue to push at the boundaries of input and user experience in VR, but to do so with the resources and means to make a bigger impact on a larger audience.”
The Swedish studio 13th Lab is also another small company founded in 2010. As they explain, the company has developed a technology based on the idea that the camera is the most important for understanding our environment and interaction with the sensor.
They have developed products like Minecraft Reality that combines the real world with Minecraft; or SLAM, a system used by the NASA robots to create maps of unknown environments and positioning devices with great precision thanks to its PointCloud SDK. 13th Lab brought the world’s first SLAM implementation to consumer devices.
Finally, Chris Bregler is a veteran in motion capture. In fact, he has worked on blockbusters like The Lone Ranger and Star Trek into Darkness and nominated for an Oscar for special effects.
Better integration in the virtual world
It is clear that Oculus VR still lacks a user experience system to help increase the sense of immersion and realism using Oculus Rift. This is because there’s no way to “see” your hands in the virtual world after donning the helmet. Nimble VR should prove “handy” for solving this particular issue.
The exploitation of Nimble VR technologies and their implementation in the Oculus helmets should allow the user to integrate more easily with the virtual world. The first phase is to capture hands, their movements and make them appear real.
For its part, 13th Lab specializing in the detailed and accurate 3D environment in real time will help the Facebook company to develop realistic 3D model that would open the door to many applications and experience such as visiting the pyramids of Egypt or the Colosseum in Rome.
In November, Oculus VR has gone live with the mobile SDK aimed at bringing developers to the Samsung Gear VR–a mobile device. The SDK includes the full-source code for Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Photos, and Oculus 360 Videos under an open license. In July of this year, Oculus VR ran its first developer conference to bring together some of the best minds in the VR innovation space.
Both studios specialize in technological research and the result of this research is obviously still uncertain, but these developments have the potential to directly enrich virtual reality experience.