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Oculus buys UK firm Surreal Vision to help it virtualise the real world

Oculus has announced the acquisition of UK-based 3D mapping company Surreal Vision, with a view to boosting the mission to bring real world imagery to the virtual medium.

The company, which is comprised of three PhD graduates from Imperial College London, specialises in “real-time 3D scene reconstruction,” which for Oculus’ purposes could allow a real world view to be mapped instantly and sent straight to a Rift headset.

Upon the acquisition, the team of Richard Newcombe, Renato Salas-Moreno, and Steven Lovegrove ‘shared their vision’ of what it hopes to achieve with Oculus and Facebook’s backing. Strap yourselves in, because it’s mind-blowing stuff:

“We’re developing breakthrough techniques to capture, interpret, manage, analyse, and finally reproject in real-time a model of reality back to the user in a way that feels real, creating a new, mixed reality that brings together the virtual and real worlds,” the statement read.

Ultimately, these technologies will lead to VR and AR systems that can be used in any condition, day or night, indoors or outdoors. They will open the door to true telepresence, where people can visit anyone, anywhere.”

The Surreal Vision founders say they are working towards an experience that users will consider to be “truly real” by continually updating the quality of its 3D reconstruction tools, which it says must become “near flawless.”

Newcombe and the team says the shared vision with Oculus makes it the perfect place to foster the ‘scene reconstruction’ tech.

Read more: Oculus Rift vs Project Morpheus: Battle of the VR headsets

Undoubtedly, the mere mention of ‘true telepresence’ will get the most pulses racing. This will undoubtedly play into Facebook’s desire to make the Rift a true vehicle for communication, while it could also allow folks to virtually attend any event in the world by slapping on the headset.

You can see demonstrations of Surreal Vision’s SLAM++ technology, which powers the reconstructions, in the videos below.

Perhaps we’ll hear more about the acquisition and the plans going forward during Oculus’ big press conference on June 11?

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