Oculus beefs up its research arm with two acquisitions and a hire

The company begins to plan more aggressively for the future of VR by stacking Michael Abrash's Oculus Research with new talent.
Today, Oculus VR announced two acquisitions and a hire -- all of which are centered around camera technology, interestingly. These additions to the team will beef up the Oculus Research arm the company formally launched earlier this year. Chief scientist Michael Abrash, who heads the team, described it as "the first well-funded VR research team in 20 years" at the time. Well, we can see where that funding is going, now: acqui-hires. Oculus has purchased two startups: Sweden's 13th Lab, which focuses on research into augmented reality, including an iOS SDK for it, and San Francisco's Nimble VR, which was in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for a hand-tracking camera peripheral for the Oculus Rift. That funding drive has now been cancelled. In fact, according to Oculus' blog post, the companies will be winding down their current projects and shifting their focus onto VR research full-time. Oculus also announced the hire of Chris Bregler, a NYU computer science professor who also worked on visual tracking for films The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness. To get a sense of the discussions happening at Oculus around the future of VR -- in other words, Abrash's job and the rationale for these additions to his team -- you can watch this panel discussion between Abrash, John Carmack, and co-founder Palmer Luckey from this past September's inaugural Oculus Connect event.

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