Oculus buys VR hand-tracking company Pebbles Interfaces

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Oculus buys VR hand-tracking company Pebbles Interfaces

It's pretty easy to see why Oculus VR wanted to scoop up this company: Pebbles Interfaces specializes in technology that detects hand movement via "custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms," the Oculus blog explains. "Over time, technology breakthroughs in sensors will unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in virtual worlds." We're talking about hands as controllers in virtual reality here. Pebbles joins the hardware engineering and computer vision teams at Oculus, where it hopes to make VR more immersive with improved human-computer interaction.

Oculus revealed its own brand of motion controllers, the Oculus Touch, back in June. The Touch is two separate handheld devices with two buttons and one analog stick each, and it's closer to a natural input system than using, say, an Xbox One controller. But it seems that Oculus has been interested in device-free movement for a while: In December, Oculus acquired Nimble VR, a company that transfers your real-life skeletal movement into virtual reality. Yep, hands in VR. In May, Oculus acquired Surreal Vision, a company that transforms physical spaces into VR worlds. Yep, hands and entire rooms in VR.

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