Report: Oculus gobbles up computer vision company Zurich Eye
Nov 20, 2016
Image Credit: Oculus
Oculus is going on a recruitment drive, with over 100 positions available , mainly in its U.S. offices. But the company is making big moves across the globe. Late last week German site Handeszeitung reported that Oculus parent company Facebook had acquired Zurich Eye, a Switzerland-based group formed of members of the University of Zurich and another university, EMT Zurich. Following that, a Facebook representative apparently confirmed to Swiss Info that the 10-man team would be joining Oculus as part of a new office in Zurich. Oculus declined to comment about the acquisition itself, though it did confirm that it is opening an engineering office in the Swiss capital that will be dedicated to computer vision. Zurich Eye is a computer vision company and seven members of the team are engineers. All we know of Zurich Eye is what’s written on its website , seen below:
“Zurich Eye enables machines to independently navigate in any space. Our hardware / software system provides reliable and sub-centimeter accurate position information to robots that navigate indoors, in urban areas, and in fully open space.”
The first words on the page also read “enabling machines to see.” Helping robots to navigate spaces doesn’t sound like an area of immediate interest for Oculus, but Zurich Eye’s solutions may sound relevant to inside-out tracking, an important topic in the VR industry right now. It refers to headsets that feature position-tracking using a solution embedded in the device, rather than external sensors as currently seen in the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Oculus already has its own inside-out tracking solution seen in its prototype standalone headset , Santa Cruz. Given the early nature of that device, though, it’s possible the company is still working on refining that solution. If Zurich Eye has tech that helps machines read the environment around them, and understand where they are within it, it’s not hard to see how that could fit in. Elsewhere, Oculus is also moving into AR with its latest hiring spree. Last month the VR specialist also acquired display tech company InfiniLED.