Augmented reality and virtual reality — the current obsessions of top silicon valley giants has (finally!) captured the attention of Twitter as well. The microblogging platform has acquired a virtual reality startup called IXOMOXI. With this acquisition, founder of IXOMOXI and a former Apple designer, Alessandro Sabatelli has joined Twitter as director of VR and AR.
Sabatelli will join Twitter’s team Cortex and in his own words on the LinkedIn profile, will work towards bringing a ‘spatial computing revolution’.
Confirming the news, Alessandro Sabetelli tweeted,
Twitter has acquired IXOMOXI & today is my first day as Director of AR & VR!! So excited to get to work with @qevni and the Cortex team!
— Alessandro Sabatelli (@s4l4x) June 28, 2016
Sabatelli worked at Apple for close to a decade, before he started IXOMOXI. At Apple, he worked as user interface designer for iOS, OS X and Watch OS. He had also worked on iTunes music visualizer.
Later, at IXOMOXI, Sabatelli capitalised on this experience to make an app called Lucy. Lucy was the first Gear VR app which was focussed on incorporating virtual reality into music experience. It aimed at enhancing the music experience at music festivals through Snapchat like filters passing through the camera on the device.
Magic Pony and IXOMOXI- Twitter’s foray into augmented/virtual reality
It is not tough to see the reason behind this fresh acquisition and more importantly — the hiring of Sabatelli. His immense experience as user interface designer and more importantly as visualization expert of augmented/virtual reality makes him a crucial part of Twitter’s strategy to enter this highly competitive field.
Notably, the Cortex division consists of people from Magic Pony- the machine learning startup Twitter recently acquired for $150 million. The team is reportedly “developing state-of-the-art machine learning capabilities to refine and transform [Twitter’s] products.”
And everyone knows Twitter needs to refine and transform itself and that too quickly. Moreover, some innovation in this hot field of AR/VR with support from machine learning could give some respite to Twitter and help it, develop itself into something which finally picks up those stagnant userbase numbers.
In fact, last year, Senior VP of Product Kevin had admired the potential of VR and said that VR would be a fantastic world. He had even suggested that Twitter could work great in a VR device.
However, it remains to be seen how Twitter manages to incorporate virtual reality into its products. Meanwhile, its latest and newest rival Snapchat is already ahead of it if one talks virtual reality.
Recently, it also made a similar but interesting acquisition of Seene. Seene is a startup that allows users to capture their face in 3D by using front camera of the phone.