Oculus Rift Is Going To Get A Whole Lot Cooler

Facebook is one step closer to conquering the world of virtual reality.

The social network’s Oculus VR will acquire Pebbles Interfaces, an Israel-based firm that specializes in gesture recognition and control.

Pebbles, which uses custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms to detect and track hand movement, will join Oculus’ team of hardware engineering and computer vision to “take virtual reality to the next level,” Pebbles Chief Technology Officer Nadav Grossinger said in a statement.

Pebbles’ gesture-control technology enables users to see images of their own arms and hands rendered in a virtual-reality display. It can even detect features such as clothing, scars or objects held in one’s hand, according to The Wall Street Journal.

An example of 3D hands built by Pebbles.

“At Pebbles Interfaces, we’ve been focused on pushing the limits of digital sensing technology to accelerate the future of human-computer interaction,” Grossinger said. “We’ve always believed visual computing will be the next major platform in our lifetime, and we’re excited to join the Oculus team to achieve that vision for the future.”

An Oculus spokesperson declined to comment on the price of the deal. However, the sum is said to be around $60 million, per the Journal.

Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion last year, will launch its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in 2016. Rift immerses users in a virtuality world, but they’ll still need a game console controller to interact with their surroundings.

Pebbles’s gesture-recognition might one day be a part of the system, eliminating (or at least reducing) the need for gamepads and joysticks.

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