Apple's new hire suggests it's getting serious about virtual reality

by Abel Hampton January 22, 2016, 16:06
Apple's new hire suggests it's getting serious about virtual reality

Apple has previously submitted patent applications for virtual reality headsets, although we're yet to see evidence of any hardware off the back of these.

We do know that the company is hoovering up VR and AR talent, and the latest of these is Virginia Tech computer science professor Doug Bowman.

Apple Inc. has just moved ahead in its ambitions to enter the VR segment, the Financial Times reports.

Apple has lured a top virtual reality researcher away from Virginia Tech, according to the Financial Times. Though quite what it's actually doing with the expertise remains somewhat of a mystery.

Bowman, who has worked at Virginia Tech since 1999, is the author of numerous books and papers on virtual and augmented reality, including being the lead author of the book 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice.

A user demos Samsung's Gear VR headset onstage.

Apple has hired one of America's leading authorities in augmented and virtual reality. In May a year ago the Cupertino firm acquired Metaio, an augmented reality firm with a not insubstantial body of work behind it. By splitting the screen and displaying different images in front of each eye, apps can create stereoscopic virtual reality imagery.

Bowman's profile shows he's had experience with 3D interfaces for both augmented reality (like Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens) and fully immersive VR (like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift).

Compared to even to that low-tech approach, though, Apple appears to be still in the starting blocks.

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