Oculus buys 3D scene reconstruction firm Surreal Vision

Oculus has acquired Surreal Vision, a company comprising computer vision scientists from Imperial College, London, who specialize in 3D scene reconstruction—turning real-life settings into 3D ones in real time, in other words.

To understand why Surreal Vision is a good fit for Oculus, it's best to look at the videos depicting some of the firm's computer vision techniques: DTAM, SLAM++, and Dynamic Fusion. The latter, shown below, provides real-time shape recognition so effective that it looks straight out of science fiction. It makes me scared, though. The Terminators will be very hard to escape when they can so easily spot us among the rubble in the dark.

Surreal Vision's press release mentions applications in virtual telepresence and augmented reality, and I'm sure we'll see a lot more than that through our VR goggles.

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    • Generic
    • 4 years ago

    Is Oculus looking to compete with the HoloLens’ AR appeal?

    I was looking forward to HL more, as it looks like a productivity enhancer – more so than the entertainment geared, sensory depriving OR. But this muddies the waters a bit.

      • Sam125
      • 4 years ago

      You can’t directly compare GG, HL and OR as they’re different products for different markets with the only similarity being that they’re all affixed over the eyes and face. There’s really no need to conflate them which would be a source of confusion, IMO.

        • epicmadness
        • 4 years ago

        correct, but i sure am not going out with OR on my face, at least HL and GG isn’t so facehuggingly gaudy, HL in particular only looks like an oversized sunglasses.

          • Sam125
          • 4 years ago

          I like the way you think. OR doesn’t really interest me because I’m such a huge proponent of augmented reality with a heavy emphasis on the augmented part. I’m firmly of the belief that anything you wear over your eyes should aid your natural vision, not try to fool you into thinking that it’s real. 🙂

        • Generic
        • 4 years ago

        I would’ve agreed, but I can see using this for creating a to-scale BIM part for manufactured product that is difficult to model in an inexpensive CAD package.

        Hololens may, or may not, have an analog to it considering how it overlays information onto real world objects. I just don’t know, hence the muddy outlook.

        All the headsets are taking tangential stabs at the same “personalized reality” concept with plenty of current and forthcoming overlap.

        edit:
        To be a bit more concise… This forces me to draw my mental box around OR a little bit larger than yesterday. 😉

          • Sam125
          • 4 years ago

          I don’t think you understand the difference between augmented and virtual reality. 😉

            • Generic
            • 4 years ago

            I do, in fact. I would rather have seen this company gobbled up by Microsoft is all. I think this would be a great tool for AR.

      • Billstevens
      • 4 years ago

      Yes. This is all about communication hence facebooks interest. 3d cameras aren’t enough for merging the environment into VR. To do it well you need to render everything you see. So everyone even in VR are looking for quick ways to render real environments.

      • Coyote_ar
      • 4 years ago

      HoloLens its a hype product the same way Kinect was. They promise more than what they know they can deliver.

      On the other hand the Oculus Rift is a product that delivers what promises, and people has already tested it over and over again.

      Augmented reality devices all promise a lot, then fall short in the application when they face imput lag, limited mobile computing power, and poor image quality for see through displays.

      But if people go for the “i wont buy a rift, i think ill wait for the HoloLens…” Microsoft has already won. Thats the whole idea behind this hype thing, not to make a great product. But to stop you from buying VR products other brands have and they dont.

    • UberGerbil
    • 4 years ago

    It’s kind of remarkable what the cheap Kinect camera has done for this kind R&D. Most of it would have happened anyway eventually, but it lowered the barrier to entry so much.

    • Ushio01
    • 4 years ago

    Isn’t it Facebook that’s buying Surreal Vision as oculus isn’t a company anymore it’s a product name.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      Depends on how it’s set up–the company I work for owns several mostly-independent subsidiaries, one of which has done some M&A of its own. And some analysts think we might get bought by one of the really huge corporations, so maybe a few years from now the tree of companies will be deeper and more complicated than the org chart at my first job!

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 4 years ago

    Every time I see Oculus buy something else, I think to myself, “Wow, that’s such a shame to see yet another interesting and compelling technology get locked into an arrangement with only Facebook.” I’ve been saying it ever since Oculus itself was purchased.

    At this point, every time I see something exciting and interesting, I hope that they escape the tractor beam of all these “hype-hungry” conglomerates looking for their next “hype high.” Few do.

    Few do.

      • Sam125
      • 4 years ago

      Being a high-tech entrepreneur is a lot like being a heroin druggie. The first hit is free then you need to pay up for each subsequent shot. Except, instead of paying with money you need to pay with milestones and perceivable innovation.

      Being purchased by Facebook means Oculus can focus on making a product and not worry about where and when they’re going to score their next hit of cash.

      I mean, no one in their right mind would prefer going on Shark Tank over finding a venture capitalist with a heart. That’s just lunacy. 😉

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 4 years ago

      I don’t see what the problem is. Facebook is just diversifying, and they have the money to fund these things. If that’s what they want to do, and it doesn’t hurt anything, I don’t see why it’s an issue. These companies aren’t being forced to sell, they did it willingly, so they obviously don’t have a problem with facebook buying them.

      Anyways, things like this all depend on how facebook treats the acquisitions, and so far I haven’t seen anything particularly negative. I mean, if Carmack, King of Open Source Games thought it was ok, then it’s probably fine. Either way, it’s too early to make any negative assumptions about it, and it is furthering VR. That, and I think Carmack will keep then honest, and VR will end up being more open than if anyone else bought them.

      • Coyote_ar
      • 4 years ago

      What is this locked arrangement with only Facebook that you talk about??

      Since Facebook invested in Oculus VR, there was no change in how open the company was towards other developers.

      If something, being backed by Facebook, has allowed Oculus VR to face the harassment of greedy lawsuits try to get a piece of the pie without doing anything other than sue. Plus allowed to improve the whole VR ecosystem by adquiring techologies that will improve the VR experience. The whole VR ecosystem requires tons of new technologies, not the headset alone. And without the Facebook backing, Oculus may have fallen short on providing the product they inteded.

      It would have been far worst if a company like Microsoft or Sony had bought Oculus. Those are really companies who have a long history of creating incompatibility of their products with the competition to leave them out of the game. So far Facebook hasnt done this. They have shitty information policies, but aside from that they are still a better company that Sony and Microsoft on my book …

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