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Facebook Buys Tech Company Zürich Eye, Hints At Partnership With Oculus

05.01.2017

A German newspaper has recently announced that social media giant Facebook just bought the Swiss computer vision company called Zürich Eye. This news was released at the same time that Oculus, the virtual reality (VR) company owned by Facebook, said it was planning on building an engineering office in the metropolitan city of Zürich.

Engineers from both the University of Zürich and EMT Zürich formed Zürich Eye a few years ago. Currently, this company has ten engineers working on issues related to robotic vision and navigation. On their official website, Zürich Eye states that their main mission is to produce hardware and software to help robots see with sub-centimeter accuracy.

Although Oculus has not officially told reporters that it will work with this Swiss team, Facebook told journalists that the current team at Zürich Eye will merge with Oculus' VR technicians very soon. Facebook also said that there will be a new office in Zürich where both Zürich Eye and Oculus employees can work side by side.

People involved in the VR space are now speculating as to why Oculus would be at all interested in Zürich Eye.

Since Zürich Eye focuses on machine vision, some VR experts believe Oculus is looking for help with what is known as "inside-out tracking." Inside-out tracking is concerned with putting position-tracking technology in a device rather than relying on external sensors. As of today, VR headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift rely on external sensors.

People in the VR industry point out that Oculus just released a prototype headset in Santa Cruz that was designed to deal with inside-out tracking. Many believe Oculus wants to work out the kinks in this initial design with the help of Zürich Eye's professionals. Zürich Eye's proven success in creating visual apparatuses that enable machines to see where they are both indoors and outdoors may be just what Oculus needs to perfect its own inside-outside tracking.

This isn't the first time Oculus has sought the help of another company to further its own technological progress. Just a few months ago Oculus acquired the energy-efficient display tech startup InfiniLED. InfiniLED has its home base in Ireland.

Members of the Oculus team are now attempting to recruit talented tech experts to fill some 100 positions in their American offices. In recent days Oculus has shown an increased interest in augmented reality (AR), which may explain this latest recruitment boost.






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