(San Francisco, California)
At today’s Digital Summit, organized by the MIT Technology Review, Facebook’s VP of Infrastructure Engineering Jay Parikh answered a question about Facebook’s $2B acquisition of Oculus, the virtual reality headset company, by candidly explaining:
“You can’t interact with anything. These are big, hard problems … what you do with your hands, because you can’t do anything with your hands — or it’s hard to be using a controller when you can’t see your hands and you have the goggles on — these are problems we have to solve in a good and seamless way.”
Mr. Parikh was responding to a question from Dr. David Levitt, MIT alumnus and CEO of Pantomime Corporation, the interactive virtual reality company:
“I work in Virtual Reality, and everyone’s wondering what you can say about your acquisition of Oculus VR. In particular, I’ve had demos of it: I could look around but I couldn’t reach in. Do you have solutions for that that you can talk about?”
In fact Dr. Levitt’s company Pantomime Corporation already has a seamless, patent-pending solution that lets users reach in and interact in virtual reality in 3D – using the same mobile devices that are the current focus of Facebook’s technology and business. Pantomime Technology™ turns any tablet or smart phone into a Virtual Reality controller and viewer – like a gyro-stabilized 3D Wii controller that can paddle and touch objects, with a viewing screen. Networked technology lets the mobile devices interact in shared worlds, lets any computer or game console screen become another window into worlds, and lets players join in from anywhere on the internet. Goggles like the Oculus Rift aren’t needed — they’re optional.
Parikh’s answer included an outline of Facebook’s vision of virtual reality and its reasons for acquiring Oculus, as shown in the Digital Summit video, minutes 36 thru 39.
“We’re delighted and impressed with Facebook’s commitment and vision for social virtual reality,” said Dr. Levitt afterward. “We agree it’s much bigger than games. And of course, we agree it will only be satisfying if users can reach into the 3D worlds. Pantomime™ is apparently the only solution that works seamlessly, and without requiring new hardware.”
Pantomime Corporation’s founders are Dr. Levitt, formerly of VPL Research, the company that invented VR; and Don Hopkins, famed for his work on the most successful game franchise in history, The Sims™. They have been quietly filing patents and developing interactive VR and augmented reality software since 2010. The company incorporated this spring and was immediately nominated for, and won, the Launch Silicon Valley World Cup Tech Challenge, Digital Media / Mobile award last month.