Apple hires top virtual reality researcher


Apple has hired Doug Bowman, one of the top US researches in virtual reality, reports the Financial Times. Mr. Bowman recently joined the Cupertino firm after taking a brief sabbatical from his position as computer science professor at Virginia Tech. He also served as the director of the university’s human-computer interaction centre.

According to the FT, Bowman’s experience spans both fully-immersive VR and augmented reality, and he is well respected by his peers. He has received several industry awards and other recognitions for his work, including a $100,000 grant from Microsoft for a HoloLens study, and he’s consulted for Walt Disney’s Imagineering unit.

Now that you know what he’s done, you’re probably wondering what he’ll be doing at Apple. Nobody really knows. But we do know that it has long shown an interest in the virtual reality space. The company has filed for several VR and AR-related patents over the years, and it has acquired multiple startups with expertise in these fields.

In fact, the Financial Times says that Apple’s interest in virtual reality has picked up serious steam within the last 6 months, and industry watchers speculate that it’s building everything from Oculus Rift-style headsets, to highly advanced in-car dash systems for its rumored electric car project. But no one really knows what it’s working on.

Whatever it is, it should appease investors that Apple isn’t completely ignoring the space. Virtual reality is expected to be the next big thing in computing platforms, and not only are several major tech firms such as Microsoft, Facebook, Sony and HTC, preparing to launch products, companies like Samsung and Google already have.

Source: Financial Times