Oculus VR announced the acquisition of Surreal Vision today, bringing the company’s expertise on recreating real-time 3D representations of the outside world into virtualized environments. This means making things like virtual telepresence possible, letting you “be there” without actually being there.
Based on info shared by Surreal Vision regarding the acquisition, it sounds like this will help fuel Oculus’ foray into mixed reality. Mixed reality combines live, real-world content with virtualized additions, as is perhaps most notably demonstrated by Microsoft’s HoloLens project.
Since the Oculus Rift presents a completely enclosed headset with an entirely virtualized environment, the conditions required to make this perfectly emulate the outside real world are more stringent than with Microsoft’s system, where you’re literally seeing your surroundings at the same time an overlay is projected on top. Surreal Vision’s goal at Oculus is to perfectly continuously capture and reconstruct the outside world in the virtual environment, to the extent that a user wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the two experiences.
Achieving that would mean telepresence on an entirely new scale; you could attend a meeting on Mars from the comfort of your office, for instance, or just visit with relatives in an instant from the opposite side of the country.
Surreal Vision’s founding team is a group of three high-flying PhDs in the field of real-time scene reconstruction, and the UK-based squad will join Oculus Research in Redmond, Washington to continue their work.