Oculus acquires Surreal Vision, a startup that brings the real world to VR

Startup brings tech that allows VR to scan and represent the real world -- what it calls "state-of-the-art 3D scene reconstruction algorithms."

Oculus VR has acquired British startup Surreal Vision, which works with "state-of-the-art 3D scene reconstruction algorithms" to recreate the real world inside VR. This technology should allow those immersed in VR to interact with their real surroundings; it also opens up the possibility of blending the real and the virtual.

The London-based team will become part of Oculus' research arm.

The technology may put Oculus more in line with its competitors -- whether they be augmented reality solutions like Magic Leap or Microsoft's HoloLens, or Valve's Vive headset, which at a basic level communicates the limitations of your movement in the real world within its VR simulation.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has been up-front about his expectations for the potential of Oculus since his company's acquisition of the VR startup, suggesting that the tech has mainstream, real-world potential beyond games. This acquisition may be a piece of that puzzle.

What does the company do? It's summed up by a statement from Surreal Vision in the announcement on the Oculus blog, which we've excerpted here:

"At Surreal Vision, we are overhauling state-of-the-art 3D scene reconstruction algorithms to provide a rich, up-to-date model of everything in the environment including people and their interactions with each other. We’re developing breakthrough techniques to capture, interpret, manage, analyse, and finally reproject in real-time a model of reality back to the user in a way that feels real, creating a new, mixed reality that brings together the virtual and real worlds."

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