Oculus VR has announced the acquisition of Surreal Vision, a company that is behind image recognition technology that could help the Oculus Rift headset understand what is happening in the space around the user.
The acquisition could also see Oculus VR move from virtual reality into augmented reality, which basically takes the surroundings of a user and builds off them.
"Surreal Vision is one of the top computer vision teams in the world focused on real-time 3D scene reconstruction—generating an accurate representation of the real world in the virtual world," said Oculus VR. Great scene reconstruction will enable a new level of presence and telepresence, allowing you to move around the real world and interact with real-world objects from within VR."
While images shown to a user through the Oculus Rift headset are already pretty detailed, one challenge that it and other virtual reality companies are facing is how to integrate a user's surroundings into a virtual environment. This acquisition will likely help Oculus VR tackle that issue.
The goal of Surreal Vision at Oculus VR will be to perfectly reproduce the outside world in a virtual reality, which could eventually see users being able to travel across the world with their headset or attend work meetings without even having to go to the office.
Of course, it is more difficult for virtual reality headsets to reproduce a wearer's environment than it is for augmented reality headsets such as the upcoming Microsoft HoloLens. This is because devices like the HoloLens allow users to actually see their surroundings like a pair of glasses, while overlaying digital information on top of that.
"Over the past three decades, a great deal of work in computer vision has attempted to mimic human-class perceptual capabilities using color and depth cameras," stated Surreal Vision. "At Surreal Vision, we are overhauling state-of-the-art 3D scene reconstruction algorithms to provide a rich, up-to-date model of everything in the environment including people and their interactions with each other."
The purchase is one of a number of acquisitions for Oculus VR, which is itself owned by Facebook. Oculus VR has previously purchased games coding engine RakNet, designer Carbon Design and a motion tracking company called Nimble VR.
Facebook will hold an event on June 11, where it is expected to show off a number of the latest details having to do with the Oculus Rift and what it can do.