Apple Engineer and YouTuber Mark Rober Working on Anti-Motion Sickness VR Technology for Use in Autonomous Vehicles

Engineer and popular YouTuber Mark Rober, who is known for his science-related videos that can rack up millions of views, works at Apple as an engineer in the special projects group, reports Variety.

The site says that Rober has been working on Apple's virtual reality projects, including "using VR as on-board entertainment for self-driving cars." On Rober's LinkedIn page, it says he works as a product designer at an unspecified company he first joined in 2015, suggesting he's been with Apple for some time.


To explain the kinds of things Rober may be working on, Variety points to a pair of Apple patent applications that cover an "Immersive Visual Display" and an "Augmented Virtual Display," which were filed in 2016 and describe virtual reality systems that could be used by passengers in self-driving cars. The patents list Mark Rober as a primary inventor.

Both of the patents describe a VR headset that could help alleviate in-car motion sickness in autonomous vehicles, with one suggesting replacing the view of the real world with virtual environments that include visual cues to match physical motions the passenger is experiencing and the other describing virtual content that appears as a fixed object in the external environment.

One of the patents suggests that a virtual reality system for cutting down on motion sickness could aid in productivity because it would allow passengers (which would include all persons in an autonomous vehicle as a driver would not be required) to perform work while the vehicle is in motion without experiencing motion sickness. It also suggests VR could provide "enhanced virtual experiences" to passengers.

Many passengers in vehicles may experience motion sickness. Typically, this is not the case for the driver. However, with the arrival of autonomous vehicles, the driver becomes a passenger, and thus may want to occupy themselves while, for example, riding to work. Passengers in conventional or autonomous vehicles may, for example, want to read a book, or work on their notebook computer.

Apple is currently working on autonomous driving software that is being tested in Lexus SUVs that are out on the road near its Cupertino headquarters, and the technology is reportedly being implemented into employee shuttles.

Apple has inked a deal with Volkswagen to use Volkswagen T6 Transporter vans as self-driving shuttles to transport employees around its various campuses and office buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's not clear if and when Apple plans to implement the VR technology Rober is working on into the shuttles or other future autonomous car projects, but there are many concepts that Apple patents that never make it into finished products.

Prior to joining Apple, Rober spent eight years as mechanical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and he also served as a product designer at Morph Costumes.


He also maintains a popular YouTube channel with 3.4 million subscribers, sharing science-related videos like "Lemon Powered Supercar," "How to Survive a Grenade Blast," "How Much Pee is in Your Pool," and "iPhone ATM PIN Code Hack - How to Prevent."

Related Roundups: Apple Car, Apple Glasses

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
31 months ago

People want a good Mac, not a convoluted VR system for a car that is 4-6 years away from being announced yet alone released (given the delays in Apple products recently) -- nobody is asking for this! I'm sick of hearing the "Not all of the engineers are working on the car/iphone/ipad/homepod/etc." argument, I used to say that to people on here but now I'm beginning to sympathize with the supposed 'haters.' They were never haters at all! Just power users! Clearly the 'not all engineers' argument can't be the case when you look at the current state of the Mac, or the mind-blowing delays in their products (AirPower being released a year+ from announcement? Seriously?). Now we're hearing Ive's team had the balls to consider removing all ports from the iPhone... it's only a matter of time before the MacBook Pro will meet the same fate of being completely port-less, save for a single charge port. Removing all the ports from the iPhone serves no true function and doesn't improve anyone's life, Ive, it just satisfies your aesthetic itch.

Reclaim your title as the leader in professional workstations, Apple, it's what many of us are waiting to give you thousands of dollars for. It's worthless having "a virtual reality system for cutting down on motion sickness [to] aid in productivity" for your car if the passengers don't have a power-user OS in the first place to utilize it. It seems true innovation is dead at Apple. Imagine the state of MacOS if there was a genuine focus on how to make an operating system for power users in this era, something truly groundbreaking and ballsy, instead we're still using the same fundamental OS design from 2 decades ago -- oh, sorry, we have dark mode now! what a relief!

When the day comes where the "courage" necessary to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone is applied to taking risks for power users, that's the day I will weep with true joy.

Muster up some courage, vote with your wallet purchasing products that meet your needs, and find happiness in life. The above is just plain embarrassing.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
I get motion sick in cars AND from VR headsets so I can't help but imagining something like this making me twice as sick.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
LOL... do you remember when you used to get into the car and just drive it?

What about when the girl on your side wants to "hold your hand"?

All these technologies are rendering people useless. It reminds me the intro of the movie Idiocracy, human evolution used to reward the smartest but there was a point that everything started to be so easy that people became lazy and evolution stop rewarding intelligence but instead started to reward fertility.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

LOL... do you remember when you used to get into the car and just drive it?

What about when the girl on your side wants to "hold your hand"?

All these technologies are rendering people useless. It reminds me the intro of the movie Idiocracy, human evolution used to reward the smartest but there was a point that everything started to be so easy that people became lazy and evolution stop rewarding intelligence but instead started to reward fertility.

My father is in good health. But one eye is already f**** up.

My parents live in a rural area, where they NEED the car even for basic daily needs like buying bread as everything is far from home.

There are lots of people in that situation and much worse, driving is nice but cars that drive themselves are in need today, and even more in the future where people live longer.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Why would a self-driving car have a special need for motion sickness relief? Are the issues any different from those of a passenger in a taxi, for example?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
People want a good Mac, not a convoluted VR system for a car that is 4-6 years away from being announced yet alone released (given the delays in Apple products recently) -- nobody is asking for this! I'm sick of hearing the "Not all of the engineers are working on the car/iphone/ipad/homepod/etc." argument, I used to say that to people on here but now I'm beginning to sympathize with the supposed 'haters.' They were never haters at all! Just power users! Clearly the 'not all engineers' argument can't be the case when you look at the current state of the Mac, or the mind-blowing delays in their products (AirPower being released a year+ from announcement? Seriously?). Now we're hearing Ive's team had the balls to consider removing all ports from the iPhone... it's only a matter of time before the MacBook Pro will meet the same fate of being completely port-less, save for a single charge port. Removing all the ports from the iPhone serves no true function and doesn't improve anyone's life, Ive, it just satisfies your aesthetic itch.

Reclaim your title as the leader in professional workstations, Apple, it's what many of us are waiting to give you thousands of dollars for. It's worthless having "a virtual reality system for cutting down on motion sickness [to] aid in productivity" for your car if the passengers don't have a power-user OS in the first place to utilize it. It seems true innovation is dead at Apple. Imagine the state of MacOS if there was a genuine focus on how to make an operating system for power users in this era, something truly groundbreaking and ballsy, instead we're still using the same fundamental OS design from 2 decades ago -- oh, sorry, we have dark mode now! what a relief!

When the day comes where the "courage" necessary to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone is applied to taking risks for power users, that's the day I will weep with true joy.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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