Category: oculus

Mark Zuckerberg Turns Into Spider-Man With New VR Gloves

Undeterred by the recent lawsuit loss suffered by Oculus, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues working on developing hardware to improve the technology’s augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) experience. Just after his tour of the Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington, Zuckerberg shared a new prototype for vR gloves.

Image credits: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook
Image credits: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

“We’re working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That’s what I’m doing here.”

While not much is known about the VR gloves just yet, we do know that Oculus acquired a hand-tracking startup called Pebbles Interfaces that was already working on technology that could help in the creation of VR gloves.

things to come

We also know that the prototype seems to use OptiTrack Prime 17W cameras in lieu of an Oculus-built sensor system to sense the position of the gloves, according to TechCrunch. The gloves also seem to have a slim form-factor.

These gloves could help Oculus encourage the adoption of VR tech within the mainstream market (their Touch controllers don’t quite do the trick, as they have very limited uses in VR). Oculus isn’t the only company working on VR gloves, though. There’s Dexta Robotics’ Dexmo gloves and Manus‘ sleeker, bike-glove style accessory that works with HTC Vive controllers. There’s also Neurodigital’s Gloveone and Noitom’s Hi5.

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Oculus Officially Owns an Eye-Tracking Company

A New Pair Of Eyes

Virtual reality (VR) company Oculus has acquired an innovative Danish startup, a move many believe will go a long way in streamlining VR product development. The Eye Tribe, a Copenhagen-based company, specializes in tracking user eye movements — definitely a key asset for VR.

Since its inception in 2011, The Eye Tribe has come up with an add-on hardware device for phones, tablets, and PCs that functions as a gaze-based interface. This gives users the ability to navigate their gadgets using only their eyes. Foveated rendering, which sharpens the VR scene only in the spot the user is looking, allows the headgear to save space and power. Further, EyeProof analytics, a cloud-based platform, claims to be able to process which areas of the screen users look at the most by following their gaze.

Looking Ahead

It’s fairly easy to see why a VR company would snatch up The Eye Tribe. Now that touch-based controllers are out, the obvious way to get ahead of the game is to go hands-free. Aside from the promising a more immersive gaming experience, eye-tracking tech offers increased accessibility options for people with disabilities, security for logging-in to personal accounts, and even utility for car interfaces.

What’s probably particularly attractive for Facebook, Oculus’ parent company, is the EyeProof software’s ability to point out which parts of the screen are prime advertising space. If the tech is taken far enough, marketing companies could even use data mined from eye-tracking to measure exposure, by seeing how long users pay attention to their ads.

This year was promised to be the one for VR, but so far, results have fallen a bit short of expectations. It’s a nascent field that is in the process of coming into its own, and if we’re rooting for VR to get it’s gears going, acquisitions like these are exactly what we like to see. With that said, we’re all looking forward to 2017, when hopefully, VR could finally take over.

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