Facebook owned Oculus VR is set to acquire Pebbles Interfaces, an Israeli gesture recognition technology for up to $60 million.
Founded in 2010 by Israel and Nadav Grossinger, Pebbles is a startup that specialized in the depth-sensing technology and computer vision of hand movements within virtual reality. The computer has spent is five years on technology that uses custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms that detect and track hand movement.
Pebbles is Facebook’s fourth acquisition in Israel and through this acquisition Facebook believes, Pebbles Interfaces’ work will ‘unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in the virtual worlds.’ For it Pebbles will merge with Oculus VR’s hardware engineering and computer vision teams, designing new technologies for VR and human-computer interactions.
Recently, Pebbles integrated its technology with Oculus glasses which translate finger movements into virtual movement via a camera mounted on the glass frame. The startup claims that its technology has the potential of showing clothing, scars or items held in one’s hand and other unique features. Apart from it, the highly advanced virtual reality software can also help in matching and reproducing clothes and accessories.
Grossinger, CTO of Pebbles said, “At Pebbles Interfaces, we have been focused on pushing the limits of digital sensing technology to accelerate the future of human-computer interaction. 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 have always believed visual computing will be the next major platform in our lifetime, and we are excited to join the Oculus team to achieve that vision for the future.”
The formal pricing of the gear or the technology has not been revealed yet, but it is expected to cost around $1500 for a full build which consists of Oculus Rift headset, an Xbox One controller and a gaming PC rig capable of dealing with the Oculus Rift’s demands. It is expected to be available at the beginning of 2016.