Apple Hires Esteemed Virginia Tech Professor For Nascent Virtual Reality Program

If you have even a passing interest in technology, then you've likely heard about the recent advances in virtual reality. It's the hottest topic in tech right now, particularly as Oculus and HTC ready the release of their respective headsets, and it's drawing in players both big and small. With regards to the former, Apple just added a major player to its ranks.

His name is Doug Bowman and prior to joining Apple, he worked as a computer science professor at Virginia Tech. Bowman was also the director of the school's human-computer interaction center, a position he held for five years before taking a sabbatical and joining Apple, and has been involved in several 3D and VR projects.

Virtual Reaility
U.S. Navy personnel using a VR parachute training simulator

Bowman's profile notes that he was the principal investigator of the 3D Interaction Group where he focused on the topics of "three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments." He's also the lead author of 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice, and served as the general chair of the IEEE Virtual Conference in 2007-2008.

The list of his work goes on and on. To partially quote Ron Burgundy from Anchorman, Bowman's kind of a big deal in VR. He's won many industry prizes and accolades for his work and research in VR and 3D interfaces over the years, and now he brings that enthusiasm over to Apple. For what specific purpose remains to be seen, but you can bet that Apple is cooking something up.

Even though Oculus and HTC have plans to release VR headsets this year, which will join several VR products already available, this is still considered the early stage of what could be a massive market. In that respect, Apple isn't late to the game.