We often report on key people leaving Microsoft, but sometimes we are lucky enough to report on very important people joining the company.
On this occasion Microsoft is able to celebrate recruiting a foundational member of VR community, Mark Bolas, who left his post as a researcher and professor at the University of Southern California for a job at Microsoft.
Bolas ran the Mixed Reality Lab and Studio, where his work focuses on creating virtual environments that fully engage one’s perception and cognition and create a visceral memory of the experience and where he tutored key VR entrepreneurs like Oculus Rift’s Palmer Luckey. His motto was famously “We take technology, push it to the edge of its limitations and, hopefully, break it.”
Bolas helped create NASA’s prototype Virtual Environment Workstation in the 1980’s and he later founded Fakespace Labs, manufacturing virtual reality and interactive devices in the 1990s. While running the MxR Lab, Bolas was also an associate professor of interactive media in the Interactive Media Division of the university’s School of Cinematic Arts.
In 2012 he open-sourced his design for the very Cardboard-like FOV2GO in 2012, which thousands of people downloaded so they could have a $5 homemade virtual-reality headset. Palmer Luckey worked in Bolas’ lab for a year before Bolas suggested he start Oculus, in which Bolas was an early investor.
He holds a Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award, for Seminal Technical Achievement in Virtual & Augmented Reality by the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee.
It is expected that Bolas will help Microsoft with their development of HoloLens and Windows Holographic, the operating system Microsoft hopes will become the foundation of a large number of 3rd party virtual and augmented reality headsets.