Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass?

Bruce Krulwich profile picture
Bruce Krulwich


  • Facebook-owned Oculus VR recently acquired two start-up companies with virtual-reality related technologies.
  • One of them, 13th Lab, developed technology for creating 3D models of the world as a camera moves around.
  • 13th Lab also developed SLAM technology, which can track a camera's location as it moves around.
  • With SLAM, Oculus has the option to shift their focus and enter the smart eyeglasses market currently dominated by Google Glass.

Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology company acquired by Facebook (FB) earlier this year, announced recently that they are acquiring two small start-up companies to fill gaps in their virtual reality capabilities. One of them, Nimble VR, enables virtual reality glasses to track a person's hands, while the second, 13th Lab, has developed technology for building 3D models of an environment as a camera (or virtual reality glasses) moves around a scene.

Oculus VR is the maker of Rift, virtual reality goggles that can create a fully immersive experience for a user. People wearing virtual reality goggles like Rift are made to feel that they are in a different place, with everything they see and hear supporting that feeling. Early applications focus on gaming, but Oculus sees a day, as forecast by the epic book Snowcrash, in which people use virtual reality goggles to interact with each other in life-like three dimensional settings while each sitting in their own living rooms.

Facebook acquired Oculus in order to bring virtual reality not only to social networking but to a wide variety of other online experiences. These can include everything from experiencing a sports game from a court-side seat to taking a class by sitting in a virtual classroom full of other students.

Oculus's acquisition of 13th Lab fits this agenda perfectly. 13th Lab's technology can take a video stream from a camera moving through a site, and construct a 3D model of the site. As Oculus said in their press release, "The ability to acquire accurate 3D models of the real-world can enable all sorts of new applications and experiences, like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Coliseum in virtual reality."

A closer look at 13th Lab technology, however, opens up a much more revolutionary possibility.

This article was written by

Bruce Krulwich profile picture
Founder of Grizzly Analytics. Now Director of Data Analysis at Seeking Alpha.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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