Apple Hires Highly Respected Virtual Reality Researcher

Formerly a science professor at Virginia Tech and director of human-interaction for approximately 5 years, Doug Bowman has reportedly been persuaded to work for one of the world’s biggest consumer electronics companies in the world, Apple.

Rumors of Apple quietly assembling a dedicated VR task force has been going around for years and Apple has acquired several companies working in the field of VR.  

In May last year the company acquired Metaio, an augmented reality firm with a not insubstantial body of work behind it. Many impressive projects such as the very popular Berlin Wall App has been produced using its tools. Apple recently snapped up Emotient, which is a company that specialises in AI that read human emotions from facial expressions. The company has also filed patent applications for Samsung Gear VR like smartphone powered VR devices in the past. Some including prophetic iPhone attached viewing goggles. The fact that Apple hires a highly respected virtual reality researcher, right now, just after these investments just can not be a coincidence. We believe something big is at work.

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Doug Bowman quite literally wrote the book on 3D interfaces (he was the lead author of 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice). He is a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. The man has published and collaborated on a number of articles related to virtual and augmented reality and he has experience in fully immersive virtual reality tech too, as found in HTC’s Vive and the Oculus Rift, as well as augmented reality like the tech used in Google Glass.

Bowman was also among five recipients of a $100,000 grant and two HoloLens developer kits from Microsoft. He received that in order to carry out research into the possible uses for Microsoft’s augmented reality headset the HoloLens. Bowman’s research was called a “Collaborative Analysis of Large-scale Mixed Reality Data”.

Apple has surely experimented with both VR and AR. But, unlike many of its competitors such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, Apple has yet to formally announce any serious hardware or software efforts in the virtual reality field.

One Response to Apple Hires Highly Respected Virtual Reality Researcher

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