Hololens creator Avi Bar-Zeev departs Apple's AR headset team

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2019
Avi Bar-Zeev, a major figure in the augmented reality and virtual reality industry and co-inventor of the Hololens who was reportedly working on Apple's rumored headset, departed the company in January after two and a half years of employment.

Microsoft's Hololens, an AR device that Avi Bar-Zeev is credited in producing
Microsoft's Hololens, an AR device that Avi Bar-Zeev is credited in producing


Bar-Zeev confirmed he left Apple last month, but is unclear exactly why he has vacated his position on a high-profile AR team. What is known is that it was a seemingly amicable departure, with Bar-Zeev advising a positive experience both working for the iPhone producer and in leaving the organization.

"I left my full-time position at Apple in January," Bar-Zeev told Variety. "I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won't comment on any specific product plans."

While it is unclear what he wants to do in the future, he admitted to plans to consult on augmented reality while "noodling" on his next major project.

Working in AR and VR for almost 30 years, Bar-Zeev is known for working on a number of advanced projects within the field, including being part of the team at Disney behind the VR experiences at the media giant's parks, such as the "Aladdin's Magic Carpet" ride.

Later, he co-founded Keyhole, which then was acquired by Google and became the start of Google Maps. Bar-Zeev then moved on to VR firm Linden Lab before joining Microsoft.

While at Microsoft, Bar-Zeev was one of the people who, according to his LinkedIn profile, "helped found and invent Hololens, assembling the very first AR prototypes, demos, and UX concepts." The project resulted in the creation of the headset and Microsoft's push into "mixed reality" computing.

Following Microsoft, Bar-Zeev joined Apple for an unknown project, which is likely to be the long-rumored VR or AR headset that could arrive in 2020 at the earliest, though some analysts believe a launch in 2021 is more likely. His role, again from his LinkedIn account, involved being on the "lead experience prototyping team for a new product," developing key prototypes to "rapidly prove concepts, explore, educate, and build support."

He is also said to have helped "develop user stories and technical requirements for the long-term roadmap, while working across design and engineering to ensure success."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    ivanhivanh Posts: 590member
    Avi was consumed after technology transfer. What if 2 years ago, he did not go Apple but Huawei?
  • Reply 3 of 12
    ivanh said:
    Avi was consumed after technology transfer. What if 2 years ago, he did not go Apple but Huawei?
    Huh?
    lolliver1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Well two possibilities here.  One is that a technology road block was hit and thus the product is on hold.   The other is that the sciences and major R&D is done thus the challenges this guy needs is gone.    Of course option two implies a product not far from release. 
  • Reply 5 of 12
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Maybe there’s not much to do until those little 8K screens are ready, one for each eye, in the millions.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/04/27/apples-rumored-headset-may-handle-ar-vr-use-8k-eyepieces-wigig
    edited February 2019 fastasleep1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    wizard69 said:
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Well two possibilities here.  One is that a technology road block was hit and thus the product is on hold.   The other is that the sciences and major R&D is done thus the challenges this guy needs is gone.    Of course option two implies a product not far from release. 
    Just a guess on my part, but I don’t see any movement on an Apple AR headset/glasses for another 4-5 years.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,584member
    wizard69 said:
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Well two possibilities here.  One is that a technology road block was hit and thus the product is on hold.   The other is that the sciences and major R&D is done thus the challenges this guy needs is gone.    Of course option two implies a product not far from release. 
    Pretty sure there are more than those two possibilities. 
    fastasleep
  • Reply 8 of 12
    ivanh said:
    Avi was consumed after technology transfer. What if 2 years ago, he did not go Apple but Huawei?
    Huh?

    The trolls are getting more and more indecipherable.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Most likely finished with mapping the hardware and software for Apple.  They’ve been playing with the interface and feature layout in VR setups, so they don’t need him on that.  Hardware is all custom silicon and specialty cameras/sensors, which is the easy part.  Apple is only waiting on their screen and battery tech.  I expect the new battery hire from Samsung to assimilate solid state lithium batteries, greater energy density and unlike lithium-ion, actually safe.  I recall recent developments have made this technology affordable for electronic devices.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Based on Apple’s current state of technology, I still expect this 2020/2021.  

    As far as competition, no off the shelf processors are going to work well.  Battery constraints will keep Google/everyone from processing in the cloud, even with 5G.  Reducing latency (Lag) will require custom CPU, GPU, neural capabilities, machine learning, custom cameras, and a high speed extremely efficient cloud database system.  Good thing Apple has all of that.

    Most importantly, will the product be something you actually want to wear?  That’s where Apple can win, optimization and miniaturization.
    1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Actually, that was the problem, Apple was looking for the end game, how do you capitalize on this technology and make it common place without the total geek factor. I suspect this was about him wanting to play more than actual making a viable product. Many times it easy coming up with the idea or the technology, the hard part is molding the idea and tech into something people want to buy and use.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    wizard69 said:
    Google, Microsoft, Apple...guy got around. Surprised he left Apple before launching whatever it is he was working on. Hope it’s still an active product.
    Well two possibilities here.  One is that a technology road block was hit and thus the product is on hold.   The other is that the sciences and major R&D is done thus the challenges this guy needs is gone.    Of course option two implies a product not far from release. 
    Just a guess on my part, but I don’t see any movement on an Apple AR headset/glasses for another 4-5 years.

    I tend to agree, if there was something nearing completion, this guy would have stuck around, and Apple would have ensured he stuck around. You do not launch a new product and loose the lead architect just before it was ready for prime time.  
    watto_cobra
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