According a report by Bloomberg, Apple have hired augmented and virtual reality expert Dr. Jeff Norris who founded the Mission Operations Innovation Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Norris will take the role of senior manager on a team set to bring augmented reality to the masses.
The report details that Norris was hired early last year, joining a team led by former Dolby Labs executive Mike Rockwell who are said to be working on augmented reality glasses and related tech for future iPhones. Prior to this, Norris’ work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory involved the founding of the Mission Operations Innovation Office as well as the JPL Ops Lab which worked on creating human-system interfaces for mission operations. He also led multiple projects focused on human-system interaction with a particular focus on augmented and virtual realities.
His personal site features a speech that he gave on augmented reality at the JPL Ops Lab, the majority of which focused on the use of AR headsets. Under Norris, the lab developed the Microsoft HoloLens to astronauts on the International Space Station and worked on software that would allow them to virtually work on Mars with this device.
It’s no secret that Apple have taken a huge interest in virtual reality over the past few years, with many hoping for a teaser in the next iPhone update. With a large team working on these technologies, they are aiming to release both an virtual reality headset and augmented reality smart glasses in the latter part of 2018.
CEO Tim Cook has expressed a huge interest in AR tech for some time stating back in February, “I think AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives.”