Richard DeVaul — an MIT PhD and Apple’s Senior Prototype Scientist working under Jonny Ives — has left Apple for Google. In him, Apple has lost one of their top, super secret skunkwork guys… one of the few in Cupertino tasked with building out hardware concepts for the next big thing.
DeVaul is a specialist in wearable technologies, which he has worked on for most of the last decade. Seith Weintraub has a great write-up of his career to date.
Although it’s not clear what DeVaul was working on within Apple, it seems likely that Google has recruited DeVaul for their new lab called Google Hardware. There his job description will be the “rapid idea evaluation and prototyping for new projects.”
If DeVaul’s interests still mostly reside in wearable technologies, Google might be a better fit: the search giant is often willing to play around with concepts (like wearable computers) that might not have immediate consumer applications, where as Apple’s interest in wearable technology pretty much ends at Nike Plus and the iPod Nano.
To us, though, this seems like something of a step-down, although it’s possible that Google’s engineer-friendly environment is a better match for a nuts-and-bolts MIT man than Apple’s humanities-led campus. Either way, best of luck, Richard1