Facebook has named former Apple senior employee, Michael Hillman, as the new head of hardware for Oculus, according to Bloomberg. Hillman, who had been with Apple for over 15 years, had previously worked on the iMac desktop computer in addition to his roles in senior positions in engineering and design.
As the head of hardware at Oculus, Hillman will be primarily tasked with bringing the Oculus VR headset to mainstream consumers. He’ll be teaming up with Hans Hartmann, Chief Operating Officer for the company.
Hillman’s new role will be to set and execute on a strategy moving forward. In addition, he’s to assemble and lead the team responsible for the task.
Facebook has been making several moves recently to push VR to the next level. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, sees a future where VR is the next big deal in computing technology—akin to the prominence of smartphones. The company recently hired Hugo Barra, formerly of Xiaomi Corp. Though, he’s yet to begin his work.
The consensus is that in order for VR technology to truly see wide-scale adoption, the devices will need to be unshackled from a PC or gaming console. The devices currently rely on the beefier hardware to handle most of the processing requirements of the various headsets.
To that end, Oculus has demonstrated their project, code named Santa Cruz. The model is still very much in the prototype phase, however.
The other major limiting factor for widespread adoption is cost. Right now, even at a discount, dedicated VR headsets retail anywhere from $400 to $800.
If Oculus is intent on bringing their product to the fore, they’re going to have to figure out a way to drastically reduce the price. That’s a significant hurdle, even for the current models. Untethering the devices will prove an even more cost-prohibitive endeavor.