As 2014 draws to a close, consumer virtual reality (VR) is closer than ever, although the topic of input remains an issue. VR specialists are yet to find a definitive standard for controlling VR experiences, despite numerous Kickstarter crowd-funding campaigns for new controllers and concepts. Even Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) creator Oculus VR has been looking into input and has this week announced a huge step forward in its research with the acquisition of hand-tracking technology company, Nimble VR.
VR fans will have likely heard of Nimble VR before, having launched its own Kickstarter campaign for its Oculus Rift-mounted depth sensing camera back in October 2014. The kit offers accurate hand-tracking similar to the Leap Motion controller, with a 110 degree field of view (FOV). This allows players to control their own set of hands within a VR experience. The campaign was due to end on 13th December and was already a huge success, more than doubling its $62,500 USD goal and raising $135,511 with the help of some 1,076 backers, but has now cancelled that campaign.
“Today, we’re happy to share that we’ll be joining forces with Oculus, a team that is creating an entirely new medium, platform and industry,” the developer noted in a Kickstarter update. “We’re excited not only to continue to push at the boundaries of input and user experience in VR, but to do so with the resources and means to make a bigger impact on a larger audience.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter for us. Thanks again for all of your support, criticisms, gentle prodding and constructive feedback during our Kickstarter campaign!”
Exactly what Oculus VR has planned for Nimble VR is unclear, though it will be working within the former’s product engineering and Oculus Research departments. Oculus VR itself has already been tied to hand-tracking, with a report earlier in the year suggesting that the company is looking as tracking with a forward-facing camera that’s built into the Oculus Rift. That already sounds remarkably similar to what Nimble VR offers; could we see the technology fully integrated into the consumer Oculus Rift?
VRFocus will continue to follow both Nimble VR and Oculus VR reporting back with any further updates on both of them.