Apple poaches NASA augmented reality expert

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Microsoft's HoloLens (Image: Microsoft/YouTube)

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26 April 2017 | 0

All signs are pointing to Apple’s work on an augmented reality device of some sort, and now Cupertino has a new addition working on that effort: NASA’s Jeff Norris.

According to Bloomberg, Apple hired Norris away from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, where he founded the Mission Operations Innovation Office, to work on its augmented reality products earlier this year.

Norris’ work over the last few years has been consumed with virtual and augmented reality in space. He partnered with Microsoft to develop software called OnSight, which lets scientists on Earth work virtually on Mars by wearing Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets. Norris also put pairs of HoloLens sets on the International Space Station to let astronauts show NASA staff on the ground exactly what they’re seeing using the Skype app for HoloLens. (You can read more about Norris’s projects on his website.)

So what do these projects have to do with Apple? Rumour has it the company is working on augmented reality features for the iPhone 8 camera, but they’re also reportedly developing augmented reality devices – like a pair of glasses – we probably won’t see until next year at the earliest. Norris is on that team, working under former Dolby Labs technology chief Mike Rockwell. The team also includes former HoloLeans, Oculus, and THX employees.

Apple is clearly serious about augmented reality, and while a Google Glass-like device isn’t exactly where we imagined Apple going, maybe the company will succeed where Google so spectacularly failed.

IDG News Service

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