Apple's hiring of top virtual reality expert suggests the company is increasing VR/AR development

By midian182
Jan 22, 2016
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  1. While big tech companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Samsung continue to focus on virtual and augmented reality devices, we are yet to see Apple enter the VR/AR field. But it looks as if the Cupertino company is getting ready to make an official move; not only has it made several VR-related acquisitions over the last year, but it’s just hired one of the leading experts in 3D interface design.

    Doug Bowman, who was the Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech before recently taking a sabbatical, now works for Apple, according to a report from the Financial Times. During his five-year tenure, his work focused on "three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments.” He's even written a book on the subject, which you can buy on Amazon.

    Other companies have acknowledged Bowman’s work in the VR/AR field. He was one of the first recipients to receive a $100,000 research grant from Microsoft, along with two HoloLens Development Edition devices, to carry out research into uses for the headset in a study called "Collaborative analysis of large-scale mixed reality data." Bowman has also spent time as a user experience consultant for Disney Imagineering, working on the company's various theme park rides.

    Apple has made several acquisitions that could be related to a VR/AR project over the last few years, these include Swiss motion capture company Faceshift in November, German augmented reality firm Metaio last May, original Kinect developer Primesense in 2013, and San Diego-based startup Emotient earlier this month. The company also bought Perceptio - a startup specializing in AI image classification systems – last October.

    With these acquisitions, Apple got its hands on some advanced technology that may find its way into a future VR/AR device from the company. It also meant that many experts in the field are now working for Apple.

    The virtual and augmented reality market is said to be worth $80 billion by 2025, according to Goldman Sachs. Whether Apple ultimately plans to release a VR headset like the Oculus Rift or an AR device like the HoloLens, or if it intends to integrate the technology into one its future products such as the iPhone or the rumored Titan car project, we’ll just have to wait and see.

    You can learn more about Doug Bowman's work in the Virginia tech video below.

    Image credit: ymgerman / shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I don't understand the fascination with wearing a brick on your nose. I dislike wearing a welding hood, but that goes with the job. And don't even get me started talking on regulations of wearing hard hats.
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,528   +831

    dude like hoodies are the same thing. and whats up with beanies?!? people these days. Might as well ditch hair too.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    That's like comparing a car to a boat.
  5. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,528   +831

    so is comparing a hard hat to a VR headset to a welding helmet. Actually, thats like comparing a car to a forklift.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    They strap on the same way. Now say they are not comparible!
  7. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,248   +220

    So, what are they going to call it? Place your bets on iSomething
  8. J spot

    J spot TS Member Posts: 55   +13

    Does this mean that Apple is going to get credit for inventing Virtual Reality? In the future.

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