Facebook’s Oculus has acquired The Eye Tribe, which has developed eye tracking developer kits for computers and software that can bring gaze-based interfaces to smartphones. Details of the deal, including the cost, weren’t released, but it could have major implications for Oculus devices in development, including its forthcoming standalone headset.
Oculus hasn’t quite been the virtual reality home run Facebook hoped it would be: the hardware maker has been beset by shipping problems, a high-than-expected price and vigorous competition from the likes of Sony and HTC, among others. Founder Palmer Luckey’s controversial political views haven’t helped, and now Facebook finds itself in the rare position of being on the back foot in a space where CEO Mark Zuckerberg has soaring ambitions.
How a teenage Palmer Luckey created Oculus Rift in his parents’ Southern California garage, sold it for $2 billion and may have launched a digital revolution.
Virtual reality specialist Oculus is trying to dazzle consumers by adding more entertainment and educational options to the Samsung Gear headset. They join a menu of more than 250 apps designed for the Gear VR since its consumer model was released nearly six months ago.
Mary Lou Jepsen, the executive director of engineering at Facebook and the head of display tech at its Oculus virtual reality arm, is leaving the social-networking giant after a little more than a year on the job to focus on curing diseases using MRI images in the form of a consumer wearable.
It’s too soon to say how the four-week delays will affect Oculus, much less the overall acceptance of virtual reality, a technology that submerges users in realistic artificial worlds. The delay, naturally, has sparked online grousing and even some data-based activism, including the creation of a crowdsourced spreadsheet for tracking who received their prized VR gear and when.
Deep breath, publishers: you won’t need to be cranking out VR stories for the new Oculus Rift headset overnight. Joseph Lichterman writes that based on the spate of early reviews, it’s an impressive and positive step in the VR revolution, but widespread adoption will likely be hampered by its price tag ($599) and the high-powered PC it needs to run (no Macs yet). In short, it’s also just thrilling enough to get critics revved up for the 2.0 version.
The founder of Oculus told a group of developers working on virtual reality content Wednesday that the immersive medium’s success should be measured by time — not necessarily money — spent on it.