Today Oculus VR announced the acquisition of Surreal Vision, a company that specializes in the real-time recreation of real environments inside virtual and augmented worlds. This could point to some exciting long-term possibilities.
Oculus VR announced that Surreal Vision is joining the gang at Oculus Research, in a move the company is promising will “enable a new level of presence and telepresence, allowing you to move around the real world and interact with real-world objects from within VR.”
What this sounds like is that Oculus is eyeing future headsets that could let you walk around a virtual version of the environment you’re actually in while using VR. Mapping real environments into virtual ones would not only let you move freely without bumping into stuff, but the real-time mapping could also turn it into something much more interesting than your actual environment (like, say, turning your office desk into cover to hide behind on a battlefield).
This move could also point to future Oculus headsets that let you control a telepresence robot that walks around a real environment somewhere far away from you – perhaps even on the other side of the world.
The tech can work indoors and outdoors, and could ultimately contribute to blowing the roof off of what VR can do.
Of course the first consumer version (above) of the Oculus Rift is presumably going to be physically tethered to a PC, just as its prototypes and dev kits have been, so Oculus is thinking longer-term than that here (the Gear VR is wireless, though, so there’s always the chance this kind of thing could happen sooner than later on the mobile front). Telepresence was one of the points we hit in our speculative piece on long-term non-gaming uses for virtual reality.
The team from Surreal Vision will join Oculus Research, which is based in Redmond, Washington (US).