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Oculus pushes forward with mixed reality, acquiring Surreal Vision

Oculus has announced that it has acquired Surreal Vision, a Hertfordshire-based outfit that describes itself as a “team of computer vision scientists tackling the most ambitious perception problems for a new generation of spatially-aware computing.”

The company was founded by Richard Newcombe, Renato Salas-Moreno, and Steven Lovegrove, all of whom have PhDs from Imperial College London, and the acquisition was spotted by TechCrunch.

Surreal Vision specialises in mixed reality, in other words, mixing virtual elements with a real-world scene – as seen with Microsoft’s HoloLens – and allowing users to interact with real objects from within a virtual world.

In a statement, Oculus noted that the UK firm is one of the top teams across the world when it comes to real-time 3D scene reconstruction.

In a statement, Richard Newcombe said: “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.”

The company says that its ultimate aim is to develop VR systems which can be used in any conditions, outside or indoors, working towards what it calls “true telepresence” and a reality where location doesn’t matter a jot when it comes to holding meetings.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.