Apple Hires Leading Virtual Reality Researcher

Apple has hired Doug Bowman, one of the U.S.' leading virtual reality experts, according to a new report from the Financial Times. Bowman joined Apple after going on sabbatical from his job as a computer science professor at Virginia Tech.

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His experience spans both fully immersive VR, as used in Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive headsets, as well as augmented reality, where transparent visors such as Microsoft’s Hololens, Google Glass and secretive start-up Magic Leap mingle digital images with the real world still visible.

Bowman has been director of Virginia Tech's Center for Human-Computer Interaction for the past five years. He's also the lead author of the book "3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice." His past experience also includes serving as a User Experience Consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering and honors like numerous IEEE awards for 3D user interfaces and technical achievements in virtual reality. Bowman's LinkedIn page had not been updated to reflect the hiring and has since been deleted.

In the past year, Apple has acquired three companies with experience in either augmented reality or virtual reality. It acquired augmented reality startup Metaio last may, real-time motion capture firm Faceshift last September and expression analysis startup Emotient a couple weeks ago.

It's unclear what Apple could have Bowman and its acquired companies working on, but there have been persistent rumors the company has been interested in VR. Apple has filed several patents for VR products, including video goggles, motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS and 3D "hyper reality" displays. It's also been reported that the company has a "small team" working on virtual reality projects.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

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61 months ago
GET BACK TO MAKING COMPUTERS!
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago
Late to the party as per usual recently. Pro tip: VR needs great graphics cards, not 3 year old mediocre ones in your high end line.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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61 months ago
Still sitting and waiting until the day the Apple TV is no longer a hobby...
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago
Apple made the iPod because MP3 players sucked

Apple made the iPhone because phones at the time sucked

Apple wants to make VR because why??

Just make your graphic cards good enough to handle this awesome third party hardware that is already light years ahead of you.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago

GET BACK TO MAKING COMPUTERS!

They never stopped. Calm the **** down.

Apple made the iPod because MP3 players sucked

Apple made the iPhone because phones at the time sucked

Apple wants to make VR because why??

Because as a tech company, Apple would be a complete idiot not to try and get in on cutting-edge tech like VR.

Same reason they made an Apple Watch. All things considered, it's probably one of the better options besides the horrific price range and insistence on marketing a wrist-computer as "fashion".
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
61 months ago
If Apple are making a car, then windshield(windscreen) augmented reality would surely be one possible direction they would investigate.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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