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Apple hires 3D interface expert to bolster its VR research

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Doug Bowman, the Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech, is now also an Apple employee, according to a report from the Financial Times today. His academic research has focused primarily on 3D interface design (he's literally authored a book on the subject), though he's also done work on virtual reality immersion. He was part of the team responsible for designing and studying the Virginia Tech Cube, which served as a VR research vehicle.

At Apple, Bowman joins a growing cadre of virtual and augmented reality experts, following the acqui-hiring of the teams at Faceshift, Metaio, and Emotient. Apple's investigation and deepening knowledge of VR applications is pretty much mandatory — even if only to understand where competitors like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are likely to take the technology — though the eventual outcome in terms of Apple products remains hard to decode. Bowman's experience with creating Minority Report-style 3D interfaces could be deployed in AR car control systems. Or Apple could be developing its own version of Samsung's Gear VR headset, only designed with the iPhone in mind.

Read next: How long will Apple sit on the VR sidelines?