In a new report by The Financial Times, Apple might be looking into a possible push into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The report revealed that Apple has now hired Doug Bowman, a researcher and professor at Virginia Tech.
Bowman, prior to his hiring, was a Professor of Computer Science and Director of Center for Human-Computer Interaction. He specialized in three-dimensional user interfaces and immersion in VR environments. He has also collaborated on a number of different articles on VR, such as “Virtual Reality: How Much Immersion Is Enough?” and “3D User Interfaces: New Directions and Perspectives”.
More importantly, he was one of last year’s recipients of a $100,000 research grant from Microsoft’s HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program. The grant was for a study into how AR/VR could work in large spaces with multiple users all accessing or viewing a single object, such as in museums.
Apple might seem like a johnny-come-lately into the VR/AR field, but it has actually been holding various assets and patents on how it could utilize AR and VR in its technology. It has filed a patent for converting an iPhone into a VR display and bought AR company Metaio just last year.
But despite the presence of Google Glass (now named Project Aura), with the Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift on the market, Apple might not be rushing into building a VR/AR headset of its own. Instead, the Financial Times might be building VR/AR interfaces for electric cars.
A previous Wall Street Journal report had sources stating that Apple is looking into building an Apple-branded electric vehicle. Last month, it was also reported that Apple might be developing an “adaptive” projector for home use, a projector which will allow computers to project information without a screen.
Considering the secretive nature of the company and its penchant for rumors, only time will tell what new developments will arise from this.