Google Appears to Be Ramping Up R&D Efforts for “New and novel” AR/VR Lenses

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Though there wasn’t much groundbreaking in the Daydream news shared at Google I/O this year, the company is growing its AR/VR team at an accelerated rate, suggesting Google has a number of things up its sleeve yet. One recent job listing which caught our eye suggests that the company is ramping up its R&D efforts for lenses, now hiring a ‘Diamond Turning Technician’ to assist with rapid prototyping of “new and novel” optics for AR and VR devices.

Among flurry of job listings for Google’s Daydream AR/VR team seen so far this year was something that we haven’t spotted previously: the company is seeking a Diamond Turning Technician experienced in operating “state of the art” lathe equipment used for precision optics prototyping. While we’ve known for some time that Google has been designing custom lenses for their Daydream products, the new job listing suggests and escalation of that work into in-house rapid prototyping.

Google’s custom lenses for Daydream 2017 (right) were a big improvement over the simple lenses of the original (left). | Photo by Road to VR

The job listing, which was posted in the last week, notes an internal “dynamic Research & Development (R&D) laboratory with a focus on new and novel [optical] designs and a close partnership with world-class Optical and Mechanical Designers.” The opening is at Google’s Mountain View headquarters.

Though externally Daydream developments have been slower in recent months, an analysis by Road to VR of the company’s job posting trends shows that hiring for Google’s AR/VR team is accelerating.

Data collected by Road to VR

In the last 10 months the company has listed 59 new job openings directly associated with its AR/VR activities, up 37% over the 10 months prior.

Google’s increasing hiring in the AR and VR space mirrors other major tech companies like Oculus who toward the end of 2017 and into 2018 began an AR/VR hiring spree that would nearly triple the number of the company’s usual job listings. And of course Apple has been not only hiring, but also making strategic acquisitions in the space, most recently picking up its very own holographic optics company.

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Road to VR

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