The virtual reality company Oculus, owned by Facebook, have been busy in the last week hiring Google X’s Mary Lou Jepsen.
Jepsen ran the research lab’s Display Division for three years but has agreed to join the Oculus team this month. A highly respected scientist, Mary Lou Jepsen will potentially bring significant expertise to Oculus, although it’s unclear at this time what her new role will be.
An Oculus spokesman said, “we can confirm Mary Lou has joined the team.” “We continue to seek out the best and brightest from around the world to help push VR to the next level.”
More and more companies are moving down the virtual reality path, with some specialising in gesture capabilities and how they can be used with Oculus’s own product Oculus Rift. The next step in the adoption of virtual reality does appear to be more than just a concept. Oculus’s recent mashup with Leap technology is evidence of this.
The hiring of Jepsen is a big statement by Oculus. The Anita Borg Institute ranks Jepsen as one of the top-50 female computer scientists of all time. Jepsen probably remains best known for One Laptop per Child, a not for profit organisation she cofounded with Nicholas Negroponte started with the intention of developing a low-cost laptop for children in developing countries.
According to Jepsen’s LinkedIn profile, the MIT graduate describes how she invented the desired laptop’s core architecture. Following this role Jepsen, landed her next job as head of Google X’s Display Division, partially explained by the fact she invented a new screen as part of her laptop design.
The link from her experience with display technology and her move to Oculus seems a natural one. The Virtual Reality startup, acquired by Facebook for a reported $2 billion, made waves with Oculus Rift, with its head-mounted display due out later this year. It seems Jepsen will play a key role in improving Oculus Rift’s display as it nears launch.