Prominent VR researcher who influenced Oculus Rift's creator joins Microsoft

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft has picked up a major addition to its mixed reality efforts thanks to a new hire. According to a report by Polygon, the tech giant has hired Mark Bolas, a prominent name in the field of virtual reality research, professor at University of Southern California, and mentor of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

Polygon reports:

Mark Bolas, virtual reality researcher and mentor for folks like the creator of the Oculus Rift and the team behind VR shooter Raw Data, recently left his job as a researcher and professor at the University of Southern California for a job at Microsoft, Polygon has learned.A university spokesperson confirmed today his departure, telling Polygon only that he is now working at Microsoft.

As noted by Polygon, Bolas' work in virtual reality stretched all the way back to the late '80s. Bolas is also responsible for founding the Mixed Reality Lab and Studio at USC, where Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey got his start in VR. While Bolas' role at Microsoft remains unknown, it wouldn't be much of a leap to guess his work may concern HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • This is big news for MS and hopefully in the mobile space
  • Well this is good news for hololens. In couple of years we will see VR devices based on hololens but four times cheaper.
  • You say this isn't good for the HoloLens? Absolutely not. The guy could help msft do VR headsets for console gaming and on but HoloLens is gonna stay no matter what. VR is for movies, gaming and stuff while AR takes care of the scientific and collaborative fields and it's fun too. I would seriously consider to buy AR (HoloLens) over a free VR headset.
  • I will never buy the hololens at that pricepoint but hoping Bolas will bring some cheaper versions of hololens though in couple of years when everybody wears a VR devices already
  • You're not really meant to buy hololens at it's current price point unless you plan on making money off it. It's purposfully over priced so discourage people from just buying the limited stock they have.
  • The version of HoloLens that Microsoft is currently selling is geared towards developers. Not the general public. unless you are a dev who is interested in developing for the HoloLens, why would you want to go and buy the dev kit?
  • In a couple of years time, the Hololens would be cheaper. It isn't made for consumer use yet, so it is way more expensive. When it I released as a consumer product, it will then be a bit more of a reasonable price.
  • Msft got Luckey? Right time and right one for the Windows Holographic. Clearly, he has a lot in his mind to influence the tech giant who is supposedly ahead of the curve.
  • @raytiger, Nope, First paragraph... "the tech giant has hired Mark Bolas, a prominent name in the field of virtual reality research, professor at University of Southern California, and mentor of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey" lol...
  • They probably had to pay 2x whatever Google was offering. That's the MS tax for being such a crappy company.
  • Why is the assumption that he's joining Hololens team? I can think of a couple of other teams that could benefit from his specific skillset.  DirectX team maybe?  Xbox Scorpio team, maybe?   There are plenty of things for him to do..  My bet would be on some of the foundational techologies that will enable native VR gaming support in Scoipio.
  • Well it's the easiest dot to connect... soo :P.
  • However Hololens is the perfect place to place his decades of VR research/Knowledge. If they can perfect Hololens, they could then possibly gear versions of Hololens for console etc afterwards. Makes sense to finish the main project before branching said project onto other products.
  • Its the obvious assumption to make. But, you are correct, considering its MS, he's probably going to put into the Office 365 team! =P
  • That article title is a mess. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Welcome on board, Palmer.
  • Read the article!!!! Lol...
  • Finally, someone spotted it. :)
  • VR ready surface phone with lightweight VR wireless headsets? Yay?