Apple has reportedly hired a highly respected virtual reality researchers Doug Bowman, as it continues to trail behind other major company’s in the virtual reality race

Douglas Andrew Bowman, Professor, Computer Science.
Douglas Bowman

Formerly a Science Professor at Virginia Tech, where he had been Director of Human-Interaction for approximately 5 years, Doug Bowman has reportedly been persuaded to leave academia to work for one of the world’s biggest consumer electronics giants, Apple.

Bowman is respected in his field, having won industry prizes for his work over the years in 3D human user interfaces.  He and a Virginia Tech colleague were recently two of the first recipients of a Microsoft research grant for using its augmented reality headset HoloLens for in a study on “collaborative analysis of large-scale mixed reality data”.

See Also: Apple Granted Patent for Gear VR-like Mobile Headset, Could Have “Broad Ramifications” for Such Devices

We’ve reported on various rumours over the years of Apple supposedly quietly assembling a VR task force, with patent applications for Gear VR like smartphone powered VR devices and a much earlier set of patents including some prophetic iPod attached viewing goggles.

More recently, Apple has acquired companies working in the field of VR, AR and computer vision. Most recently it snapped up Emotient, a company which specialises in AI to read human emotions from facial expressions. In May last year the Cupertino firm acquired Metaio, an augmented reality firm with a not insubstantial body of work behind it.

With its biggest rivals in the mobile space and desktop space positioning themselves to take advantage of the current resurgence of VR technologies in the wake of Oculus’ 2012 Kickstarter for the ‘Rift’ VR Headset and with headsets either already on the market or mere months away, it seems hard to believe Apple aren’t working on a VR or AR solution of some kind.

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Unfortunately, as with most things Apple, we probably won’t know for sure until the product is ready to demonstrate. In the mean time, we’ll sit tight and keep you updated with the latest.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • ATP

    Will be interesting to see where they fit *the lenses* in their sleek patented goggle! :)

    • linojon

      built into the phone itself?

  • Andros Yon

    think PTAM has been used :V
    I see pixel tracking:: to decode environment

  • Muddy

    Like everything apple, it will be another over priced, over rated inferior piece of hardware… nevertheless, under the influence of apples reality distortion field, apple fan boys will flock to it in their thousands and before long they’ll be chanting that jobs mob invented virtual reality itself! Poor things.