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Axon Names Facebook Virtual Reality Leader to Board

The company once known mostly for the Taser has pushed further into video with its body cameras. Now it is bringing in an expert in virtual reality, and its CEO is talking about "empathy-based VR training."

by / September 4, 2019
Axon headquarters Axon

Axon, the largest provider of police body-worn cameras in the U.S., is bringing on an expert in virtual reality, signaling an emergent interest in the field.

Caitlin Kalinowski, head of VR hardware at Facebook's Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality division, will become the seventh independent director on Axon's board.

In addition to spearheading engineering and product design for Oculus VR devices at Facebook, Kalinowski has worked on technical teams at Apple and sits on the strategic board of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies.

As Axon has expanded into the field of video, it has also grown into a universe of services that surround the video its devices capture for police and other users — most notably, cloud storage and access to that video. It has started an artificial intelligence division aimed at using algorithms to help make better use of video, and now it is showing interest in VR.

"She will be a great asset to the company as we continue to equip law enforcement with the tools needed to protect life — especially through the development of empathy-based VR training," said Axon Founder and CEO Rick Smith in a statement.

Empathy-based VR is the concept of using the first-person perspective available through VR in order to introduce people to the perspectives of others. Stanford University, Kalinowski's alma mater, has conducted research in the field.

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