Tom Furness ENCORE in 2020 Educators in VR International Summit

Tom Furness presenting in AlstpaceVR.Tom Furness is back for an ENCORE at the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit on Friday – today at 6PM PST in AltspaceVR.

Tom was our keynote speaker Monday at the start of the Educators in VR International Summit and part way through his presentation when, we assume the power of his presentation combined with the impact of the Educators in VR International Summit blew out the power in his University of Washington VR Lab.

This ground-breaking pioneer in VR and founder of the Virtual World Society worked with his team to restore power, but too late for the event. He’s been with us on and off throughout the week, and is now back to not only look at the past, to the beginings of virtual reality, a field he developed, creating the prototypes that eventually became the devices we wear on our faces, but where we are going in the future as we play with fire and push the technology even further.

Come join us to not only celebrate the life and thought-leader, Tom Furness, but help us boost the event through the last 24 hours into the record books!

Tom Furness - Speaker Card - 2020 Educators in VR International summit.

International Summit Spotlight: Tom Furness

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We are so excited to announce that right after the “Rock In the Summit” opening ceremonies for the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit, Monday, February 17, at 2:00 PM PST / 5:00 PM EST / 10:00 PM UK/GMT in AltspaceVR, Professor Tom Furness will be our keynote speaker.

Tom Furness will also be on a panel called “Vision of the Future” with Gabriel Rene, Anson Ho, and Charlie Fink, hosted by Daniel Dyboski-Bryant in ENGAGE, Wednesday, February 19 at 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM PST / 4:30 PM EST / 9:30 PM UK/GMT.

Presenting at 3:30 PM PST / 6:30 PM EST / 11:30 PM UK/GMT, Tom Furness will discuss “Playing with Fire.” Over a career spanning 53 years, Prof. Furness has explored and developed technologies for getting bandwidth between humans and computing machines. His work has encompassed fighter cockpits, virtual reality, retinal displays, educational tools, medical simulators, pain, phobias, molecular modeling, scanning fiber endoscopes and entertainment systems. This quest has been punctuated with side trips and ‘aha’ experiences that led to unanticipated destinations. Dr. Furness plans to talk about lessons learned on his journey including unexpected delights – with a focus on the potential of VR to set minds on fire for education and training applications.

Tom Furness is the founder of the Virtual World Society, and a pioneer in human interface technology and virtual reality. He is widely known as the ‘grandfather of virtual reality.’ He received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and the Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the University of Southampton, England. Dr. Furness is currently a professor of Industrial Engineering with adjunct professorships in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. Educators in VR celebrated the life of this amazing pioneer recently.

Furness is the founder of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at UW and founder and international director of the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and the HIT Lab Australia at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania. He is also an Erskine Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Canterbury and the University of Tasmania.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University, Dr. Furness served a combined 23 years as an U.S. Air Force officer and civilian at the Armstrong Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he developed advanced cockpits and virtual interfaces for the Department of Defense. He is the author of the Super Cockpit program and served as the Chief of Visual Display Systems and Super Cockpit Director until he joined the University of Washington in 1989.

Dr. Furness lectures widely and has appeared in many national and international network and syndicated television science and technology documentaries and news programs. He is the inventor of the personal eyewear display, the virtual retinal display, the HALO display and holds 25 patents in advanced sensor, virtual display and interface technologies. With his colleagues Dr. Furness has started 27 companies, two of which are traded on NASDAQ at a market capitalization of > $ 10 B. In 1998 he received the Discover Award for his invention of the virtual retinal display and in 2013 the SPIE Prism Award for the invention of the ChromaID technology. He has also received the Proto Award, the IEEE VRTG Career Award, and the AWE Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the founder and chairman of the Virtual World Society, a non-profit for extending virtual reality as a learning system for families and other humanitarian applications. He is a fellow in the IEEE.

We are honored to have Professor Furness speak at the Educators in VR International Summit.

To Attend the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit

The 2020 Educators in VR International Summit is February 17-22. It features over 170 speakers in 150+ events across multiple social and educational platforms including AltspaceVR, ENGAGE, rumii, Mozilla Hubs, and Somnium Space.

The event requires no registration, and is virtual only, free, and open to the public. Platform access is required, so please install one of the above platforms to attend the International Summit. You may attend in 2D on a desktop or laptop computer with a headphone and microphone (USB gaming headphone recommended), or with a virtual device such as the Oculus Go, Quest, and Rift, Vive, and other mobile and tethered devices. Please note the specifications and requirements of each platform.

The majority of our events are on AltspaceVR. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go and Quest users. Download and install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer.

GoFundMe Campaign for the Educators in VR International SummitEducators in VR is a social, member organization dedicated to providing educational events, trainings, and workshops for educators and learners to prepare them for the future of spatial technologies in education. We offer free weekly workshops in AltspaceVR and other platforms. We need your help to fund this International Summit as well as our ongoing educational programs, workshops, outreach, and scholarship programs. Please help us out by donating to our GoFundMe campaign, and consider volunteering by filling out our volunteering application. We need volunteers for as little as an hour or two. Every hour is appreciated. Familiarity with VR and VR platforms recommended.

Consider subscribing to our Educators in VR event subscription channel to receive regular reminders of upcoming events, including International Summit events.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information on meetups and how to become more involved.

2020 Educators in VR International Summit Schedule. GoFundMe Educators in VR Campaign.

Meetup: Matt Cook of Virtual World Society on VR Education in Primary School

Matthew Cook Virtual World SocietyMatt Cook of Virtual World Society will be the keynote at our next Educators in VR Meetup in AltspaceVR on Thursday, September 19, 2019. The Virtual World Society is developing an amazing program at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle, Washington, working with sixth graders to work with their after school Engineering Club to train the students to teach VR to others, including the teachers, and a 4-week unit on virtual reality for the sixth graders.

The lessons Matt and his team from the Virtual World Society along with volunteers, parents, and students, will help all of us understand the potential of integrating spatial technologies into primary school, and he will share the lessons he learned from both experiences with us Thursday.

Virtual World Society with students of Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in VR.Matthew Cook is a Senior Advisor to the Virtual World Society (VWS) developing educational programs not only in Seattle but around the globe. Founded by Thom Furness, VWS works with academia and corporations to bring virtual, augmented, and extended realities into the classroom experience worldwide. Their goal as a nonprofit is to build a community of creators to explore the potential for immersive technology to make a positive impact, and indeed one was made with the special research and development program at the Seattle middle school.

Like so many of us, Matt came to VR via a twisting route. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, and started with VWS as an intern in 2017. As a self-taught hobbyist and semi-professional Unity developer and with a strong passion for education, VWS brought him in for deeper involvement in VWS and hired him as a Research Engineer with Tom Furness’ engineering consulting business, RATLab LLC, leading to this amazing middle school project.

Many of us in education are eager to learn the lessons Matt and his team have learned by helping the students not only learn about VR devices, apps, and development, but to teach others what they’ve learned. You will not want to miss the invaluable lessons this project and his research have discovered.

Educators in VR hosts a monthly meeting with a keynote speaker on educational and industry topics and weekly workshops and special events exploring VR, AR, XR, and MR techniques and projects in AltspaceVR and other VR social and educational platforms.

Join our Educators in VR Discord group, Facebook, and follow up on Twitter for information on meetups and how to become more involved. We publish member brags and news you can use about virtual reality in education across the entire spectrum of usage from childhood education to health and science to corporate.

Educators in VR Meetup in AltspaceVR

We meet in AltspaceVR, a free virtual reality social app and community. You may RSVP on our events page and AltspaceVR will send you a reminder an hour before the event. AltspaceVR events tend to fill quickly and the limit is currently 40 attendees. We recommend you plan your arrival 2 minutes before the event start time to ensure a spot before the event space fills.

You may attend as a guest or member using the free AltspaceVR mobile app or 2D version. AltspaceVR is available for Samsung Gear, Steam Store for HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and the Oculus Store for Rift, Go and Quest users. If you do not have a VR device, you may also install the 2D version for use on your Windows desktop computer version. A headset and microphone (quality earbuds acceptable) is required to participate. Otherwise please stay muted during the event as the background noise and echoes can be disruptive. For more information on accessing and installing AltspaceVR, check out their download web page.

Virtual Reality Pioneer: Tom Furness

Tom FurnessIn November 2015, Tom Furness, considered the grandfather of virtual reality, sat down with the team at Voices of the VR Podcast for an in depth interview called “#245: 50 years of VR with Tom Furness: The Super Cockpit, Virtual Retinal Display, HIT Lab, & Virtual World Society.” It’s still worth a listen and read.

Tom Furness has been thinking about virtual reality longer than most VR users have been alive. He built some of the first helmet-mounted displays for the US Air Force, and what would become the Super Cockpit. Leaving the military, he helped found the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, and created the non-profit, educational association, the Virtual World Society.

The Super Cockpit design by Tom Furness for the US Military.

From the University of Washington Faculty bios:

[Tom Furness] is the inventor of the personal eyewear display, the virtual retinal display, the HALO display and holds 19 patents in advanced sensor, display and interface technologies. With his colleagues Dr. Furness has started 27 companies, two of which are traded on NASDAQ at a market capitalization of > $8 B (USD). In 1998 he received the Discover Award for his invention of the virtual retinal display.

In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Furness was the Chairman and President of the first Augmented Reality Company: ARToolworks Inc. recently acquire by DAQRI. He also runs his own ‘skunkworks’ company: RATLab LLC (RAT = rockin’ and thinkin’) where he and his colleagues develop advanced technologies for spinoff companies. His current projects deal with developing pulse diagnosis as an early warning system for cardiovascular disease and the start-up of the Virtual World Society, a non-profit for extending virtual reality as a learning system for families.

Tom is also co-inventor of the SPM (spectral matching) technology licensed to Visualant Inc. He continues to serve as a Senior Scientific Advisor for the company and recently received the 2013 SPIE Prism Award for his invention of the ChromaID technology.

Projects by the Virtual World Society include helping 28 sixth grade students at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle, overseen by a team of University of Washington engineering students, build virtual worlds that teach STEM subjects related to gravity, light, scale, and momentum. Continue reading