Twitter gets into AR and VR, hires ex-Apple designer


As various companies look to move into the virtual reality and augmented reality space, Twitter has seemed somewhat quiet on that front. However, recent movements by the company seem to be changing that as Twitter look to embrace new technology.

Twitter has hired Alessandro Sabatelli, a former designer at Apple, as the head of VR and AR to support its recent acquisition of Magic Pony Technologies and to lead the companies move to virtual reality. The property acquired contains machine learning algorithms that could be used for VR and AR.

Sabatelli helped to create the iTunes music visualizer and was a user interface designer for iOS, OS X and Watch OS so seems a natural evolvement that he would head up Twitter’s strategy. Sabatelli had more recently been working on VR and AR with his previous company IXOMOXI, which focused on using VR and AR to enhance visual experiences of the world.

Since joining Twitter, the team at Magic Pony has focused on Twitter’s Cortex division, which looks at “developing state-of-the-art machine learning capabilities to refine and transform Twitter’s products” and that seems to be gravitating towards augmented reality technology.

Twitter’s Senior VP of Product, Kevin Weil told Variety last year that “VR will be a fantastic world,” and Twitter’s platform “can work great in a VR device” so it seems that the company is finally taking steps to explore the application of VR into its product portfolio. However, Twitter’s technology does seem more suited towards augmented reality with contextual information being displayed on a head-up display as you explore the world.

The upcoming year for Twitter certainly looks exciting as the company look to utilise its recent acquisition and new staffing to move forward with new VR and AR technology.


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