Apple looking for hardware and software engineers to build virtual reality displays

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
A handful of recent Apple corporate job postings suggest the company is experimenting with virtual and augmented reality hardware and software, an area of intense interest some believe will be the next tech battleground.



A batch of corporate positions listed on Apple's jobs website reveals that the company is looking to build a team of specialists to work on hardware and software programs relating to virtual reality technology.

One of the positions, first spotted on Thursday and titled "Sr. Display Systems Engineer," seeks a candidate who will work with software, electrical and mechanical engineers on virtual reality hardware. Duties include testing displays for virtual environments, working with display vendors on custom hardware, designing and selecting hardware and software components for "a variety" of VR environments and developing software for display support.

The job description notes Apple is seeking applicants who can "understand how to drive displays from multiple synced sources at high frame rates with low latency" and is familiar with the pitfalls of developing "extremely high fidelity VR environments."

One of the hurdles to successfully realizing a virtual reality headset is display latency and congruency with head movement. FaceBook-owned Oculus, for example, switched from LCD to OLED panels in its latest development kit for the technology's low-latency capabilities.

The VR company is also experimenting with low persistence of vision implementations, which help reduce motion blur and judder by essentially strobing pixels at a high rate instead of keeping those pixels illuminated persistently. Coupled with head tracking technology, low persistence tech translates into a more accurate representation of the virtual world and helps reduce nausea some users experience due to the disconnect between what they see and feel.


Source: Oculus


Apple also posted two listings for a "VR/AR Programmer" in both software and hardware engineering categories, one hit the website in December while another showed up earlier this month. Unlike the display engineer positions, the programming jobs focus on the software that may one day be used on Apple devices with built-in virtual reality capabilities.

Recently, Apple has shown increased interest in virtual and augmented reality technology. Last week, the company was awarded a U.S. patent for head-mounted virtual reality hardware that uses an iPhone for a display, while other inventions point to head-tracking implementations similar to those

In 2013, the company spent a rumored $360 million on Israel-based firm PrimeSense, best known for its work on Microsoft's original Kinect motion tracking accessory for Xbox. Late last year, Apple received the first IP reassignment from the acquisition in a patent covering hardware support for 3D mapping and computer vision.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    There are some here for whom no virtual reality displays are required.

    Back in the real world, maybe this has potential as a game thing, but I don't see headsets ever catching on with the public.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    This excites me. I've long thought Apple could be the firm to make video eyewear comfortable, stylish, and with a better user experience. I've owned several pairs of video glasses, and they reminded me of MP3 players before the iPod: functional but big, ugly, and overly technical. I'm hoping that these signs (acquisitions, hiring) are indicators that Apple is getting closer to bringing a product to market.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post



    There are some here for whom no virtual reality displays are required.



    Back in the real world, maybe this has potential as a game thing, but I don't see headsets ever catching on with the public.

     

    Same here. A professor of mine has gotten into the habit of claiming HoloLens will be the future and everywhere in five years. I want to slap him every time he says that. That goes against everything computing has done in the past fifty years.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slprescott View Post



    This excites me. I've long thought Apple could be the firm to make video eyewear comfortable, stylish, and with a better user experience. I've owned several pairs of video glasses, and they reminded me of MP3 players before the iPod: functional but big, ugly, and overly technical. I'm hoping that these signs (acquisitions, hiring) are indicators that Apple is getting closer to bringing a product to market.

     

    I'd note that the linked image is quite old; that's a 4S at best.

  • Reply 4 of 15
    The job description, spotted by 9to5Mac, notes Apple is seeking applicants who can "understand how to drive displays from multiple synced sources at high frame rates with low latency" and is familiar with the pitfalls of developing "extremely high fidelity VR environments."

    Is it just me or does this sound like it could be useful for CarPlay?
  • Reply 5 of 15
    This is not new!
    Apple has been at this at least for 4 years or so...if not much longer
    They had job postings in similar categories way back ....

    So my hope is that it we will be in the market sooner than later :)
  • Reply 6 of 15
    Ah, this is for iCan...

    A windowless car, carved from a single block of aluminium... The driver sees the outside world by means of virtual reality displays...
  • Reply 7 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Is it just me or does this sound like it could be useful for CarPlay?

    Augmented night vision would be worth a try, i think.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

     

    Same here. A professor of mine has gotten into the habit of claiming HoloLens will be the future and everywhere in five years. I want to slap him every time he says that. That goes against everything computing has done in the past fifty years.

     


     

    People walking  around wearing these big clunky things on their heads? I just can't see it.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    The job description, <a href="http://************/2015/02/26/apple-display-projection-systems-for-virtual-reality/">spotted</a> by <em>9to5Mac</em>, notes Apple is ...

    +1 for acknowledging the source is 9to5mac
    -1 for the broken link

    http://9to5mac.com/2015/02/26/apple-display-projection-systems-for-virtual-reality/
  • Reply 10 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

     

     

    People walking  around wearing these big clunky things on their heads? I just can't see it.


    Just remember, computers started out the size of rooms as well.

  • Reply 11 of 15

    Copycats.

  • Reply 12 of 15
    There are some here for whom no virtual reality displays are required.

    Back in the real world, maybe this has potential as a game thing, but I don't see headsets ever catching on with the public.

    If you used the oculus, you might think different. I could see using one for work in a few years after the tech has matured a little more.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    pfisher wrote: »
    Copycats.

    Here's an example of earlier work, an Apple patent from 2013 that was applied for in May of 2007:

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8,605,008.PN.&OS=PN/8,605,008&RS=PN/8,605,008

    This isn't their earliest wearable display patent, but I don't think you deserve the best research anyway.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post





    Here's an example of earlier work, an Apple patent from 2013 that was applied for in May of 2007:



    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&amp;Sect2=HITOFF&amp;d=PALL&amp;p=1&amp;u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&amp;r=1&amp;f=G&amp;l=50&amp;s1=8,605,008.PN.&amp;OS=PN/8,605,008&amp;RS=PN/8,605,008



    This isn't their earliest wearable display patent, but I don't think you deserve the best research anyway.

    Everyone has patents on almost the same stuff. 

     

    Copycats in the sense that maybe they are doing something about displays now that everyone else is in the game. Anyway, Apple is a copycat company, as we all know. It's just that they take existing ideas and implementations and make them much better is it seems like every case.

     

    Kind of like the larger iPad that's purported to come out later this year. If they do...I would consider that a copycat act of aping what MS has already done - for better or worse (if the iPad comes out with OS X, that would be total copycat of the Surface Pro, but would be pretty cool.)

     

    Everyone is copying ideas and product implementations. There are no original ideas anymore, only original implementations. And who cares. We can slam "Samesung" all day for copying, which they are blatantly and shockingly doing with every step, but all companies are doing it. We know the patent system sucks, so why even bother to reference it? I don't mean that in a negative way. In the end, everyone is drinking from the same well, as they say in Hollywood. In the end it is good companies are "copying" (insert your definition here). What competition would there be if only one car company existed or one search engine or one smartphone company? And who really cares about Apple or others are copying, when it is often they are competing against themselves, in the end, to come out with better product?

     

    We shouldn't be obsessed with copying, however you define that. We should be obsessed with healthy competition. We should be worried that Apple pretty much hits the right note on everything hardware and everyone else is often not quite there in quality and usable product. Let others copy. Bit whoop. They are copying and not getting it right.

  • Reply 15 of 15
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Not sure I get the VR thing. After watching this...
    [VIDEOcC]

    FPV Racing - Crash Session!!! from Porco 777 on Vimeo.

    [/VIDEO]
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