This week uSens announced a $20 million Series A funding round led by Fosun Kinzon Capital. Usens is one of the early developers of hand and head tracking tech; according to the announcement from the company this investment will help launch new and improved non-controller hand and head tracking tools. The company’s technology is being demonstrated this week at the Augmented World Expo (AWE).

The lead investor in the round, Fosun Kinzon Capital, has been active this year with four multi-million dollar investments, but their focus has centered around non-VR/AR tech, so this deployment of funds is a newer venture for them. Other Fosun investments include personal insurance, mobile healthcare, and early childhood education investments centered around tech.

Additional participants in the Series A round include returning investor Maison Capital, joined by new investors Great Capital, Fortune Capital, Oriental Fortune Capital, iResearch Capital, and Chord Capital. ARM Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator also participated in this round with their funding, service and resources, according to Usens. The $20 million Series A investment follows a $5.5 million Series Seed investment back in 2015.

usens-hand-tracking-virtual-reality

So called ‘inside-out’ tracking—where tracking is derived from sensors on the user, rather than sitting static somewhere nearby—would be a huge boon to the VR and AR landscape, but it’s proven a difficult nut to crack. We’ve seen a myriad of attempts, but so far none that match the precision, latency, and robustness of the ‘outside-in’ approach employed by devices like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

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“Tracking is critical to ARVR experiences,” said Anli He, CEO and co-founder of uSens. “As ARVR display technologies approach mass adoption, we’re excited to bring great interactive solutions to help ARVR platforms, hardware makers, and especially content developers overcome the complicated challenges of hand and position tracking. This funding round is further validation that we’re on the right path to bring compelling natural tracking technologies to augmented and virtual reality.”

usens-vr-ar-hand-tracking-module
A render of a camera-based tracking module like those used by uSens

According to the announcement, Usens’ head and hand tracking capabilities leverages machine learning and computer vision techniques. The company hopes their solution will replace the need for peripheral devices such as game controllers or outside cameras. This would greatly improve the quality-of-life for users as setting up cameras/lighthouses and holding peripherals can be complicated and challenging.

“For ARVR to achieve its potential, natural head and hand tracking is required,” said Donghui Pan, chairman and president of Fosun Kinzon Capital. “It’s clear that ARVR is an explosive market. Already consumers want a more immersive experience, and hand controllers simply aren’t the solution. We’ve chosen to invest in uSens, because we’re confident the company has the deepest expertise and vision to provide this key that will help unlock mass-market ARVR adoption.”

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  • And John Carmack’s ears perk up

  • DonGateley

    I wish them the greatest luck and success. We need this as an add-on.

  • Martin MAurer

    And another 20m burn … Google and Microsoft are on top of this. Investors are funny folks.

    • happylene

      So you mean only the big guys have the right to change the world? I think the opposite. Google was also a startup 12 years ago.

    • Rlee

      The “big guys” are usually miles behind the smaller more focused entities. Which is why the “big guys” usually have to pay thru the teeth to acquire them.

      Facebook and Oculus ring a bell?

  • Peter Hansen

    HTC Vive isn’t outside-in. It’s actually some sort of marker-base inside-out. The info is gathered by the tracked objects themselves.

  • Ouning

    HTC Vive is using lighthouse tracking technology. The term outside-in is not exactly a real technical term but HTC Vive does required outside sensors to be set up in the room, comparing to the inside-out tracking that doesn’t require an outside equipment.

  • Kai2591

    The future is exciting