Apple hires NASA expert to help its AR tech achieve lift off


Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 11.58.54
Future Apple technologies?
Photo: OpsLab JPL

Apple has hired Jeff Norris, a former Mission Operations Innovation Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, to work on augmented reality technology.

In his previous role, Norris worked on new ways to control spacecraft and robots in space using a combination of VR and AR technologies. Norris joined NASA back in 1999.

At Apple he is working on a project developing a pair of standalone augmented reality glasses, as well as AR tech that could be incorporated into future iPhones. As such, he is a member of a team run by Mike Rockwell, a former Dolby Labs executive hired by Apple.

Tim Cook has previously revealed that Apple is highly interested in augmented reality, claiming that it will be even more popular than virtual reality — and likely to be one of the biggest technologies on the horizon.

An impressive team

Rockwell is far from the only augmented reality expert to have joined Apple as of late. According to a recent report, Apple has hundreds of engineers working on its AR ambitions, including former employees from Dolby Laboratories, Oculus and HoloLens, alongside special effects folks from Hollywood.

A Bloomberg article described several possible applications Apple has in mind for AR, including the ability to take a photo and then change its depth or isolate certain images within it. Another possible use-case would allow users to use AR to put virtual effects and objects onto a person, like a next-gen Photo Booth.

Rockwell is also not the only person to have joined Apple from NASA. A report yesterday claimed that Apple is employing NASA engineers as part of its self-driving car concept, according to new documents that unmask some of the scientists on the team.

The DMV filing, which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, shows that three of the drivers for the project are engineers that worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in areas of motion-planning algorithms and detecting 3-D objects.

Source: Bloomberg