It happens every time I strap on the Oculus Rift. Whether the amazing head-tracking wonder that is the DK2 unit or even the earlier model, I’m completely sucked into a new virtual world. Then I look down and my hands and… nothing. Oculus VR seems to understand the frustration and is taking steps toward developing hand tracking for the Rift by snatching up motion capture startup Nimble VR.
Creating a game controller for VR is a mystery that Oculus has long been trying to solve. Leap Motion had ideas to bring motion gesture tech to VR, and one video expert tried to tie together Microsoft’s Kinect to capture our bodies with the Rift.
But today, Oculus purchased Nimble VR, a two-year-old startup that began with gloves, evolved to Kinect, and finally developed its own mounted 3D camera, which the team Kickstarted in October and then canceled after news of their acquisition earlier today. Although not on the same scale as Oculus VR’s own dubious Kickstarter-fuelled acquisition, the two companies obviously share a similar story.
The Nimble Sense, the little sensor camera that most likely caught Facebook and Oculus VR’s attention, is a depth-sensing camera that has a 110-degree field of view. As Nimble VR explains in the Kickstarter video above, the camera creates a 3D point cloud to track your movements. So it would seem of all the weird, hacked-together prototypes and ideas that have surfaced within the last few years, Nimble VR’s vision of hand tracking in virtual reality is most likely what Oculus VR also has in mind.
Oculus VR also announced the acquisition of 13th Lab, a company focused on real-time 3D reconstruction framework, and a new hire, Chris Bregler, a motion capture expert of The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness fame.
While many of us (all of us?) are very, very patiently awaiting for the commercial unit of the Oculus Rift to hit stores and be subsequently strapped to our faces, it seems that hand tracking could also become part of the deal. [Oculus VR via Engadget]