Facebook’s Oculus division has made another acquisition: the company today has confirmed the acquisition of Pebbles Interfaces, a computer vision specialist based out of Israel. It’s not disclosing the terms of the deal but the WSJ reported it as $60 million, and Calcalist reported that it was in the “tens of millions.” Facebook has now also confirmed the deal to us directly.
The key piece of technology that Pebbles has developed is that it lets users see their own hands and fingers in their field of virtual reality. This adds extra dimensions of authenticity to the experience and also opens the door to many more applications of how the VR platform can be used.
The two companies already worked together prior to this: Pebbles is one of the many developers that had integrated its technology into Oculus’s headset. Oculus says that the Pebbles team will be joining its hardware engineering and computer vision teams “to help advance virtual reality, tracking, and human-computer interactions.”
Pebbles also confirmed the deal in its own statement:
“For the last 5 years, we’ve been focused on building a technology that extends human behavior, enabling simple and intuitive interaction with any consumer electronic device. At the same time, we’ve seen virtual reality make huge strides, changing the way people interact with one another. At the forefront of that shift is Oculus, and joining Oculus will help advance our vision building immersive experiences and revolutionizing digital human interaction. Thank you to our partners, employees and investors for your support as we’ve grown. We’re looking forward to starting our next chapter as we join the team at Oculus!”
Pebbles, which was founded in 2010, had a pretty modest ride in the context of the huge rounds of fundings that many other VR startups have attracted. In all, it raised $11.5 million from investors that included strategic backers like Bosch, SanDisk and Xiaomi, as well as investors like iNetworks360.
This is Oculus’ sixth acquisition. The company itself was acquired by Facebook last year for $2 billion.