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Why Virtual Reality Isn't (Just) the Next Big Platform : Michael Abrash & Dov Katz of Oculus VR

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Streamed live on May 2, 2014

Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist, Oculus VR
Dov Katz, Senior Vision Engineer, Oculus VR

May 02, 2014

Abstract
There's been a lot of talk lately about how VR is the next big platform, but that's not really accurate; it's something bigger and more fundamental, nothing less than a phase change in the way that we interact with information. This talk will discuss why that's so, what going to be involved in getting to that point, and why VR is going to open up huge new research and development opportunities.

VR is coupled with our embodiment more than any existing interface. A compelling and immersive VR experience requires that our interactions with the physical world are mapped precisely and with low latency onto the virtual environment. This creates a variety of challenges, including hardware design, processing multi modal sensor data, and filtering. The second part of the talk will focus on our current solution to the problem of head tracking.


Speaker Biographies

Michael Abrash
Over the last 30 years, Michael has worked at companies that made graphics hardware, computer-based instrumentation, and rendering software, been the GDI lead for the first couple of versions of Windows NT, worked with John Carmack on Quake, worked on Xbox and Xbox 360, written or co-written at least four software rasterizers (the last one of which, written at RAD Game Tools, turned into Intel's late, lamented Larrabee project), and worked on VR at Valve. Along the way he wrote a bunch of magazine articles and columns for Dr. Dobb's Journal, PC Techniques, PC Tech Journal, and Programmer's Journal, as well as several books. He's been lucky enough to have more opportunities to work on interesting stuff than he could ever have imagined when he almost failed sixth grade because he spent all his time reading science fiction. He is currently Chief Scientist at Oculus VR, and thinks VR is going to be the most interesting and important project of all.

Dov Katz
Dov Katz is leading Oculus VR's computer vision R&D. He is passionate about human and computer perception. His research interest include computer vision, machine learning, and autonomous manipulation. At Oculus, he developed a high precision - low latency optical position tracking system. He is currently engaged in several projects that will deliver a more immersive and intuitive VR experience.

He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his MS in 2008 and Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his BS in 2004 from Tel-Aviv University, Israel. He was the recipient of several national and international awards, and his work received attention in the popular press. He is the founder of the IEEE/RAS technical committee on mobile manipulation.

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