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Apple's AR Team Hires Former Oculus And Magic Leap Engineers

By Victor Thomson , Sep 16, 2016 03:45 AM EDT
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After Apple hired earlier this month Zeyu Li, a former Magic Leap employee, now the company's second hire in its augmented reality (AR) team is Yury Petrov, who comes from Facebook's Oculus.

Apple Builds Up Its AR Team

MacRumors reports that speculations suggest that Apple has a dedicated team exploring how AR and VR emerging technologies could be implemented in future products. Over the course of several months, the high-tech giant has been building up its team through new hires and acquisitions of companies like Faceshift, Flyby Media and Metaio.

Business Insider has been the first publication to announce Apple's two recent hires. The high-tech giant took two engineers from companies with expertise in augmented and virtual reality.

According to Apple Insider, Zeyu Li, after spending just over a year at Magic Leap, now joined Apple as a Senior Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer. Li's LinkedIn profile gives more details about his carrier, specifying that he worked on "cool stuff" first as Lead 3D Engineer, then as Principal Engineer.

The second hire in Apple's AR team comes from Facebook's Oculus. Yury Petrov worked as a research scientist at the VR firm since 2013. In June, he took an identical position at Apple. According to Petrov's LinkedIn profile, he was studying user experience factors in head-mounted displays (HMD) as his job at Oculus.

With the new hires that consolidate its AR team, it seems that Apple plans to increase its focus on developing augmented reality applications. For years already, there were speculations on an Apple-branded VR/AR solution. From iPhone-powered VR headsets to patents for AR devices with transparent displays, there is increased evidence of Apple's interest in this emerging field.

CEO Tim Cook stated during a quarterly investor conference call in January that he considers that the AR technology is having interesting applications. Six months later, he expanded on those thoughts during Apple's most recent earnings call. Cook added now that the potential for growth is huge and confirmed investments in AR technology.

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