Apple hires AR/VR expert from NASA

(Reuters/Mike Segar)The Apple logo is seen here above the entrance door to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

Apple Inc. is all business when it comes to taking their augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) projects, if their latest move is to be the considered.

According to an article from Bloomberg Technology, the tech giant has reportedly acquired the services of Jeff Norris of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), who is said to be an expert in new technology. Norris' hiring was Apple's move to bolster their AR and VR projects and initiatives, according to people who are close to the matter.

The report stated that the guru from NASA had already joined Apple earlier this year, specifically as a senior manager for its AR team. He also reports to Mike Rockwell, who was formerly an executive at Dolby Labs. Moreover, the sources said that Rockwell's team is currently busy with developing a pair of AR glasses, as well as other related features that will be integrated into the future iPhone models.

Norris' track record on AR and VR and other robotic solutions when he was still with NASA is nothing short of remarkable. One of his highlights was when he led a team that created "Project Sidekick," where they experimented on mixed reality system. The project involved communicating with astronauts on the International Space Station using Microsoft's HoloLens goggles, according to a report from AppleInsider.

Furthermore, he also founded NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), which focused on controlling robots and spacecraft using AR and VR technology. As for Apple, company CEO Tim Cook expressed his optimism in VR's potential, saying that it was "a big idea like the smartphone."

"It also does show that AR can be really great. We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run, we think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity," said Cook in an interview last year. "The number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers' kind of products like Pokemon, that's why you see so many iPhones in the wild chasing Pokemons," he added.