Oculus may have just acquired another piece of the puzzle in making VR headsets cheaper to manufacture and cheaper to buy.
The VR specialist acquired InfiniLED, a low power LED display maker based in Cork, Ireland for an undisclosed sum. First reported by local media, Oculus confirmed the acquisition to Upload and said the team joined Oculus Research in a new office dedicated to research in Cork.
InfiniLED was spun out of research hub, the Tyndall National Institute, in 2010. The company makes what it calls inorganic LEDs (ILEDs). These are said to offer greater power efficiency than other display types like OLED, plasma, and LCD and still be low cost. According to InfiniLED’s site the displays are “optimised for wearable and portable devices” and offer a “20 – 40X power reduction” compared to other displays. The displays use millions of microLEDs, that can be used to manipulate the direction and extraction of light they produce, creating a brighter display.
Currently, the Oculus Rift uses a 2160 x 1200 OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. The company made the move to OLED back in 2013 with its second development kit, which itself was considered to be a low powered alternative to other displays at the time.
Whatever the intention behind this acquisition, we likely won’t find out its true purpose for some time; the Rift’s first consumer version is barely six months old. Perhaps, though, a low-powered display would be the ideal choice for the next iteration of Oculus’ standalone headset prototype, Santa Cruz. If not that, then maybe the version of the Rift that Chief Scientist Michael Abrash envisions using in five years’ time will utilize this new display type.
Oculus itself was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion back in 2014 and has since made many deals of its own including buying hand-tracking company NimbleVR and product design studio Carbon Design. Given the amount of money Facebook is allowing it to invest in the VR ecosystem, we’re sure this is far from the last deal you’ll hear about.