Oculus acquires image recognition startup Surreal Vision

The company's technology could help Oculus apps better mimic reality

PCWorld senior writer Brad Chacos using the original Oculus Rift developer kit.

PCWorld senior writer Brad Chacos using the original Oculus Rift developer kit.

Virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR has acquired Surreal Vision, a company developing image recognition technology that can recreate scenes from real life inside simulated 3D environments.

The technology could help Oculus to create more varied and realistic virtual environments as the Facebook-owned company prepares to launch its flagship consumer device, the Oculus Rift, early next year.

The technology will enable new forms of presence and telepresence, and let people feel like they're traveling the globe and interacting with real-world objects, Oculus said in its announcement on Tuesday.

Images displayed in the Oculus Rift are already very detailed, but a challenging area for VR developers is creating an environment that responds to the wearer's actions in a tactile way instead of just mimicking a 3D movie experience.

The Surreal Vision acquisition could help tackle that issue. The company's scene reconstruction algorithms help build an accurate model of real-world environments, including people and their interactions with each other.

The company's three founders will join Oculus' research division in Redmond, Washington, Oculus said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is one of several for Oculus, which previously bought games coding engine RakNet, designer Carbon Design, and motion tracking company Nimble VR.

Facebook is due to hold an event in San Francisco on June 11 that should provide the latest details on Rift and its capabilities.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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