Google poaches Microsoft Hololens exec for its new AR effort

Google has hired a key architect of Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality glasses to work on its own “Project Iris” augmented reality glasses project.

The hire, first reported by Road to VR‘s Scott Hayden, took place in November. That’s roughly the same time that Google decided to centralize its AR/VR development efforts under the roof of Google Labs (as reported by TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez). Kress’s title is Director of XR (mixed reality) Engineering at Google Labs. The group is reportedly led by Clay Bavor, who reports directly to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

The Verge‘s Alex Heath later reported that Google is working on a goggle-like mixed reality headset (under the codename Project Iris) that could come to market in 2024.

At Microsoft, Kress worked on augmented reality and mixed reality optical architectures (displays, sensors, and imaging), optical subsystems, and on the industrial design and user interface of the Hololens. He also worked on the version of Hololens that Microsoft produced for the Army’s IVAS project.

With Meta, Apple, Facebook, and others now furiously building the glasses that will be the primary gateway to the metaverse, a fierce war for the best talent has ensued. In this case Microsoft appears to be the loser.

Kress should feel at home in Mountain View. Before he went to Microsoft in 2015 he was one of the principal architects of the (ill-fated) Google Glass smart glasses.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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