Apple’s Latest VR Hire is Top Researcher Doug Bowman


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

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.

Doug Bowman

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”.

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.

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.