Virtual Reality company Oculus has acquired tech company Pebbles Interface for a reported $60 million. Both tech companies made the announcement earlier this week as Oculus becomes more vocal over the future of VR.
Israel-based startup Pebbles Interface specializes in developing advanced motion sensors that recreate physical objects in VR. According to a blog post by Oculus, Pebbles Interface technology uses micro-optics and computer vision to improve the information that can be extracted from optical sensors.
The Pebbles Interface website has been taken down and replaced by comment by CTO of Pebbles Interfaces, Nadav Grossinger. “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,” he wrote.
The startup company received $45,000 in 2011 from initial seeding funding by iNetworks, but by 2013 it had raised over $11 million in funding from major tech companies like SanDisk.
Going down the rabbit hole of acquisition by Oculus can help show consumers the type of VR that the company aims to create. Oculus acquired Carbon Design in 2014, the company that designed the Xbox controller, a gaming engine two weeks later, two VR companies in December 2014, and Surreal Engine, a computer vision startup, in May.
Oculus was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion and the company has been using that money to become the leader in VR technology. Based on the tech companies that Oculus have acquired, it would be reasonable to conclude that they are planning to introduce a controllerless experience.
The release of the Oculus Touch, a sensor-based dual controller for the Rift, will be coming out in the second half of 2016. Presumably, any kind of controller update for the Rift won’t be released until after this launch. Those dreamers that want a controller-free VR may have to wait till the first part of 2017.