Facebook’s Oculus VR buys hand-tracking company for $60m

Facebook-owned virtual reality firm Oculus VR has just bought up a gesture control company for $60 million.

The newly acquired Pebbles Interfaces (note: not Pebble) is one of the leading teams in the development of depth-sensing technology and computer vision.

The company has spent the last five years developing custom optics, sensor systems, and algorithms that detect and track hand movement.

Over time, technology breakthroughs in sensors will unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionise the way people communicate in virtual worlds,” explains Oculus, writing on a blog post.

In a statement sent to TrustedReviews, Oculus said: “[Pebble Interfaces] will be joining the team at Oculus to help us on our mission to create an even more immersive virtual reality experience.”

Pebbles Interfaces is set to join Oculus’ hardware engineering and computer vision teams, in an effort to “help advance virtual reality, tracking, and human-computer interactions”.

Oculus has declined to discuss the terms of the deal and confirm any reports on terms of the deal.

Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Pebbles Interfaces launch back in 2010 in Israel, and could help the Oculus Rift better fend off rivals like Valve’s HTC Vive and the Sony Project Morpheus headset.

Both of the aforementioned competitors already offer hand-tracking capability through dedicated controllers, as does the Oculus with its Touch controllers.

“At Pebbles Interfaces, we’ve been focused on pushing the limits of digital sensing technology to accelerate the future of human-computer interaction,” says Nadav Grossinger, CTO of Pebbles Interfaces.

He continues: “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.”

Are you still unconvinced by virtual reality? Check out how Samsung’s Gear VR fared on the streets of London: