Top 10 Most Notable Names in Virtual Reality

Jeff Stafford Project Morpheus

If you haven’t experienced Virtual Reality, then you are really missing out on something that will take your breath away. There has been many new developments and researches done by many notable persons in Virtual Reality industry that are working very hard in providing the best bits of this technology. Virtual reality is like magic, just like science fiction author Arthur C. Clark said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The concept of virtual reality has been around for a long time. We have seen it in movies, heard ideas about it, but now it is a reality.

In this article, we will tell you about the people who are the pioneers and true geniuses behind the virtual reality concepts and products we see today. Here are the top 10 most notable names in virtual reality:

10. Chet Faliszek

Chet Faliszek Valve

Chet Faliszek has worked as writer in Valve for their Half Life and Portal games, currently he is a virtual reality evangelist and the face of SteamVR and HTC Vive.

9. Morton Heilig

Morton Heilig Sensorama

Morton Heilig is considered as one of the most notable name in virtual reality. Originally a filmmaker with experience in cinematography, Morton Heilig used this experience to develop the world’s first virtual reality machine called the “Sensorama”.

Morton Heilig started working on the Sensorama in 1957 and finished it in the mid-1960s. The Sensorama was a huge machine where a person sat on a chair and fitted their head in front of a display. Inside the display, the person would see the streets of Brooklyn in 3D while driving a motorbike.

The person would also feel winds, smells and vibration of the motorbike. This made the Sensorama the first true immersive virtual reality machine. Unfortunately, the Sensorama could not sell due to its high cost, huge size and the high cost of producing films for it.

8. Ivan Sutherland

Ivan Sutherland Virtual Reality Peronality

Ivan Edward Sutherland from Nebraska, United States is known as the father of computer graphics and one of the pioneers of virtual reality. Ivan Sutherland is known for his work on computer graphical interfaces and earlier forms of interaction with computers.

Ivan Sutherland invented and developed Sketchpad which was a computer drawing software capable of drawing lines which could be manipulated into several basic shapes. While working as an associate professor at Harvard University, Ivan Sutherland developed one of the first head mounted augmented reality displays in 1968 called “The Sword of Damocles”. The head mounted display hanged from a mechanical arm which tracked movement.

7. Palmer Luckey

Palmer Luckey Oculus Rift Inventor

Palmer Luckey is the founder of Oculus VR, the company which makes the Oculus Rift VR Headset. Palmer Luckey is a gaming and virtual reality enthusiast which motivated him to start a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund his Oculus Rift VR headset. He first made a prototype of the Oculus Rift in his parent’s garage at the age of 18. This campaign caught the attention of people like Gabe Newell from Valve and John Carmack of id Software who endorsed Palmer Luckey’s crowdfunding campaign.

Eventually, Oculus VR expanded to manufacture developer units of the Oculus Rift and eventually it was acquired by Facebook for $2 Billion in 2014. Oculus VR released their Oculus Rift for consumers in 2016. Palmer Luckey is still working at Oculus VR and is famous for his work in the field of virtual reality earning him the name of “the face of virtual reality” and also make him one of the most notable personality in virtual reality industry.

6. Clay Bavor

Clay Bavor

Clay Bavor has worked at Google for around 11 years as product manager for Google’s web apps like Gmail and Google Docs. Clay Bavor was recently named head of VR at Google due to his fascination with virtual reality and experimentation with the developer unit of Oculus Rift.

His extensive contribution to Google Cardboard VR project helped Google get into the “affordable” VR market long before Oculus Rift or HTC Vive were even available to the consumers. Clay Bavor and his Google VR team have now developed Daydream, a new VR platform for Android smartphones.

5. Richard Marks

Richard Marks PlayStation VR

Richard Marks is one of the persons behind Sony PlayStation VR headset. He has been working for Sony for a long time and is involved in the research of many interaction devices for PlayStation consoles starting from the EyeToy for the PlayStation 2.

Ever since the development of the PlayStation VR (codenamed Project Morpheus), Richard Marks is the face of PlayStation VR and has contributed to the field of virtual reality just how Palmer Luckey has with Oculus Rift. His research team, called “Magic Lab”, is behind PlayStation VR and keeps other departments of Sony up to date about the project.

4. Jeff Stafford

Jeff Stafford Project Morpheus

Jeff Stafford is the engineer of Sony’s Project Morpheus (now knows as PlayStation VR). According to Richard Marks, he is the true architect of the PlayStation VR. Jeff Stafford spent many years researching augmented reality and then used his experience to work on virtual reality.

Sony already had worked on many different projects related to movement tracking (PlayStation Move controllers), 3D for PlayStation 3, 3D audio and God of War VR. Jeff Stafford already had a lot of research which he used to develop the PlayStation VR.

3. Phil Chen

Phil Chen HTC Vive

Phil Chen is the founder of HTC Vive VR HMD (head mounted display) group and partner at Presence Capital which is a seed fund for VR and AR companies. Phil Chen’s motivation for making the HTC Vive possible and Presence Capital is that VR is not just for entertainment but also an interactive tool for learning and communication.

HTC’s partnership with Valve has opened a lot of doors for HTC Vive all thanks to the contributions from Phil Chen giving him a place in the list of most notable names in Virtual Reality.

2. Alex Schwartz

Alex Schwartz Job Simulator

Alex Schwartz is the CEO of Owlchemy Labs which have developed Job Simulator VR game for the HTC Vive. Alex Schwartz has worked for many companies like eBay, Seven45 Studios as a game developer, he is the founder of Boston Unity Group which consists of a meetup of developers and engineers, he is also the co-organizer of Austin VR meetup group which consists of a meetup of VR game developers.

Alex Schwartz formed his own game development company, Owlchemy Labs, which develops VR games and they made their HTC Vive launch title, Job Simulator, which has received positive reviews gaining Alex Schwartz a name in the virtual reality field.

1. Alex Kipman

Alex Kipman Microsoft HoloLens

Alex Kipman is the inventor of the HoloLens, a head mounted augmented reality display from Microsoft. Alex Kipman has been working for Microsoft for over 15 years and he has worked on products like Visual Studio, Windows, Xbox, Kinect and now the HoloLens and Windows Holographic operating system. Alex Kipman has become the face of Microsoft’s innovative products and Time Magazine has placed him in “Top 25 Nerds of the Year”.

There you have it, the top 10 most notable names in virtual reality. Virtual Reality has been around for a long time, only recently it has been available to the consumers and making content for it has become easier. Developer units of VR headsets have been around for a few years, 360 degree cameras are now available for making VR videos and 3D audio has also been in cinema and film-making for quite some time now.

These 10 most notable persons in virtual reality world have done their best to provide us a breakthrough platform from where we can take things to the next level. It is now up to the next generation to follow the footsteps of these most notable personalities and bring more innovation into the field of virtual reality.

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