Mentors, skilled in design, platform development and vertical VR and AR applications, will provide guidance to and help participants breakthrough conceptual and development roadblocks. Mentors act as floating resources for the duration of the hackathon, and help teams define workflow, generate ideas, solve implementation issues and develop final presentations.
The Mentors Team
A. Egon Cholakian PhD is a Visiting Researcher (National Security) at Harvard University, and a retired Physicist / Attorney. His expertise is recognised within the international Dual-use Technology (Surveillance) arena, and he is involved in developing VR / AR Technology for National Security training purposes. He has spoken on the topic of Dual-use technology at Google and Facebook during 2016-17.
Adina Shanholtz (aka the Fey Technologist) is a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft. She graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in Computer Science and East Asian Studies. She has a passion for Game Development, Internet of Things/Wearable technology, and empowering others through programming. In her spare time Adina likes to knit, practice her Japanese, and perform hoop and poi circus arts.
Co-founder and CEO, Spatial. Anand has a passion for 3D user interfaces and founded BumpTop after his Masters thesis became a viral hit, leading him to present it in a TED Talk. BumpTop was a pioneering 3D, multi-touch, physics desktop interface inspired by real desks. It was acquired by Google in 2010. At Google, Anand worked on early versions of Android and Google Photos.
Angela Haddad is a VR Creative Director and artist based in Los Angeles. She is the creator of One Third Blue - a VR art studio creating marketing campaigns and fan-facing stories, serving brands in lifestyle, fashion, and beauty. One Third Blue productions begin with watercolor and brushes, and are animated for 360° VR. The concept was born out of the desire to maintain an authentic hand-painted artistic visual within a medium heavily saturated with 3D renders, while enhancing analog, 2D watercolor art & animation with an unexpected technology. Angela’s portfolio includes Marie Claire, Lionsgate, LiveNation, AlJazeera, and more. She is one of ten global Microsoft Creator Council members for 3D & mixed reality products, a twice Oculus Launchpad Fellow, and has co-authored an IEEE op-ed. She has been featured at SXSW, in Buzzfeed, VRScout and UploadVR, and has spoken at SAG-AFTRA, UCLA Anderson, VRLA, NAB, and more. Angela is a UC Berkeley alumna. Prior to One Third Blue, she worked across the spectrum of VR on animation and stereoscopic live action, leading projects in production, post-production, direction, and UI/UX design.
Dubbed “Björk of Virtual Worlds” by the press, Barbara is a video-game-art-director-turned-actor perfectly bridging interactive and dramatic principles. As founder and Creative Director of entreZ XR Entertainment, an award-winning XR content creation studio developing the entertainment formats of the future, she is dedicated to bring drama to VR. Barbara holds a PhD in game studies, is board-member of VR Days Europe, consults and speaks at conferences worldwide.
Bob is at Case Western Reserve University, home of www.case.edu/ic, as Director CWRU LaunchNet, helping students and alum analyze and bring ideas to market. He has decades of IT, startup and growth experience. He is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at YBI.org, Jumpstartinc.org; assisting tech related companies www.enyxstudios.com, www.bioflightvr.com, 360alley.com and photonicstudio.com
Carl Dungca is Senior Technical Designer at Cubic Advanced Learning Solutions (http://www.cubic.com), developing immersive training simulations for the US Navy. Prior to that, he was a Designer and Producer in the commercial video game industry, working on projects for various platforms--several utilizing nontraditional input and feedback systems--at companies including Electronic Arts and TOKYOPOP. He holds an MS in Interactive Entertainment from University of Central Florida’s FIEA and a BA in Digital Media, also from UCF. He is an active proponent within Orlando’s game development scene and serves as an Advisor to Indienomicon’s monthly games showcase (http://www.indienomicon.com), now in its fourth year.
Chris has been working in computer graphics and high performance computing for 25 years. In that time he has worked in both graphics HW and SW on projects ranging from aircraft cockpit displays to supercomputer visualization to cell phone and mobile VR graphics. For the last ten years Chris has been working on GPU graphics for Qualcomm’s mobile processors, overseeing graphics driver development and standards from Qualcomm’s Boxborough office.
David is a game developer at Mapbox, where he’s navigating uncharted territory in the mixed reality game space. His passion for video game design and newfound love for geospatial data inspire him to devise unique gameplay mechanics for a rapidly changing industry.
Prior to joining Mapbox, David created games and personality for Sphero’s Star Wars BB-8 droid. He’s also developed games for Disney, Activision, LucasArts, and Remedy Entertainment. When David isn’t working, he can often be found fishing Colorado’s beautiful rivers or hiking its plentiful mountains.
Denis Grigor, Forge Developer Advocate. Denis is part of the Autodesk Forge Partner Development team and the Autodesk Developer Network. Most of the time, he works for the media and entertainment workgroup supporting Autodesk APIs that are used by the film, game and visualization industries. He has more recently started to explore the 3D aspects of the web through WebGL, Three.js, and other viewing technologies, including the Autodesk Forge Viewer. He has been exploring aspects of controlling the movement of objects within the Forge viewer for purposes of mimicking a robotic arm.
Gavin Bauman graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana (class of 2014) with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Upon graduation, he joined Microsoft as a Technical Evangelist in the Boston area. He’s given numerous technical and professional development talks, speaking at local events such as Boston Code Camp as well as national events like PAX East. Gavin has also worked with numerous schools, meetup groups, and technical professionals in the community. When he’s not punishing filthy plebians in Mortal Kombat, he’s focusing on leveraging the Azure cloud platform to develop cross-platform mobile apps and media solutions.
Expertise: C#, Xamarin, Visual Studio, Azure, Unity
Writer Director Isabelle Raynauld (PhD in screenwriting) is a professor in the cinema and video games program at the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and is a Fellow, Visiting Scholar/Filmmaker at the Open Documentary Lab at MIT. She writes and directs fiction and award winning documentary films. She recently directed a VR film: Poetry in Motion : Re-verse in Harvard Yards with sound artist Halsey Burgund, VR film (360, 4 minutes) presented at the «Virtually There: Documentary Meets VR» conference at MIT, May 2016. Selected at MIFA and FIFA, the International Art Film Festival, Montreal, March 2017. She is currently working on an international VR project : A Seat at the Table with Montreal based production company Minority VR. Her book Reading and Writing a Screenplay(is due in 2018 with Routledge). She participated to the POV Digital Lab, Hackathon, New-York, N-Y, Fall 2016 with UX Designer Jeff Soyk. She is in production with her feature documentary Music and the Brain, produced by Bunbury Films, Montreal and due for broadcast by Radio-Canada in 2018.
Jacob is on the Developer Engagement team, working with developers building on Unity with our Maps for Unity SDK. Based out of our DC office, he helps developers use Mapbox to create new and interesting games and AR/VR experiences.
Before joining Mapbox, Jacob worked in various aspects of the mobile industry from community building to game design and monetization. Prior to that, he was marine biologist conducting research in locations from Antarctica to the Bermuda Triangle. Jacob received a BS in Ecology from the University of California San Diego.
Jasmine is a graduate student researcher at the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is the current president on the GSD’s AR/VR Club and is also the designated Augmented Reality specialist at the Harvard i-Lab. This last summer, she interned in the Magic Lab with one of our sponsors, PlaystationVR, under Richard Marks.
Jeff Bail is an organizer of the Boston VR meetup and has seen it grow to over 3,000 members and spawn the brand new Boston AR meetup. He has worked as a VR software engineer in military simulation systems at local defense contractor VT MÄK. His current interests are in medical applications of VR.
Jeffrey Jacobson, Ph.D. is a 25 year expert in Virtual and Mixed Reality, well published in the scientific literature on VR for education. His past and current consulting on immersive media spans several industries, and he is one of the key leaders of BostonVR.
Jenny Guo Co-founder at LumiereVR. Jenny is a cross boarder VR producer and entrepreneur. Her company LumiereVR won the top 10 VR projects 2016 in China, and it was one of the selected companies to be in Vive X accelerator. Jenny has spoken in multiple conferences across the sea including VREdEx, TEDxBohaibay, and JP Morgan Tech Exchange. Jenny studied in Electronic Art and Political Studies at Bard College, and later studied creative producing at Columbia University. She was also the finalist and ambassador at Draper University.
Co-founder and CPO, Spatial. Jinha developed award-winning 3D interfaces at MIT, Microsoft, Samsung, and showed them in his TED Talk. He also designed the first prototype of Bradley, an innovative tactile wristwatch for the blind, one of the most successful kickstarter projects in 2013. He was named as one of the top 35 innovators under 35, and 32 greatest living designers.
Jonathan is the owner of Parkerhill Reality Labs, an immersive media indie studio. Previously he founded several successful start-ups, and held technical leadership positions at major corporations. He has a master's degree from the MIT Media Lab, authored several books including "Augmented Reality for Developers" and "Unity Virtual Reality Projects". Jonathan is a co-founder of Reality Virtually Hackathon and Mentor Team lead. Twitter:@linojon
Kate is a mixed reality practitioner / researcher and developer at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on how VR can reduce narcotic use prior to procedures and decrease anxiety in pediatric patients. She is also the co-founder of Hacking Pediatrics an annual pediatric healthcare hackathon
Kevin Vandecar, Forge Developer Advocate. Kevin is part of the Autodesk Forge Partner Development team and the Autodesk Developer Network. He is manager for the media and entertainment workgroup supporting Autodesk APIs that are used by the film, game and visualization industries. He has more recently started to explore the 3D aspects of the web through WebGL, Three.js, and other viewing technologies, including the Autodesk Forge Viewer. Recently WebVR has become a solid solution for VR experiences, and has been exploring those solutions.
Lance McCarthy, a Boston-based developer, is a Microsoft Windows Development MVP, specializing in; UWP (PC and Mobile), Xamarin, Hololens and Mixed Reality. During the day he is a Senior Technical Support Engineer for Progress Software supporting XAML and Xamarin technologies.
Expertise: C#, XAML, Xamarin, Visual Studio, Unity 3D, Mixed Reality / HoloLens, 3D Modeling for Mixed Reality: Maya, Blender (.gITF, FBX), UI Design
Laszlo is leading the Web Platform team for Samsung in the USA. He is a veteran moving the web forward with over 15 years of experience. Lately he has been focusing on VR/AR, payment and privacy on the web.
Mischa curates www.xr.design, a collection of VR and AR interaction design patterns. He's also a designer at Spatial, an AR company. He can help with questions related to 3D interaction design, ARKit, Unity prototyping, 3D modeling, and presentation design.
I’m a graduate researcher and student at the integrated innovation institute under the College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University. My current interests are in astrophysics (did physics15 at Stanford) and image processing with the goal of working on cutting edge technologies like adaptive optics that have made a big difference to scientific and industrial applications. I have design and software development experience using Unity for making various AR/VR and Mixed reality experiences. I have also hacked with devices such as Hololens, Gear Vr, Mobile phones. Also interested in immersive experiences for education and training.
I like organising, attending and mentoring hackathons primarily because of the rapid convergence of ideas towards solving a problem, along with co-evolving a narrative about the impact of the solution.
I am a Studio Director with an extensive background in video game development that has worked in the video game, movie industry and government space for over fifteen years. I pride myself with my ability to finalize and ship products with a forward leaning freshness. I have worked and managed entire game, product and project productions of Engineers, Artists, Designers and Production from initial vision, concept, pre-production, design, R&D, 2D and 3D art creation, outsourcing, engineering, to the implementation of these assets and visions into the final production release.
Specialties and focus: Studio management, Art management, Design management, Production management, 2D and 3D art, animation, animation pipelines and motion capture. Software specialties include Maya, 3ds Max, Motionbuilder, Unity, Unreal, Photoshop and the Adobe master collection. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickcarteraustin/
Iulian is a creator and researcher of embodied educational technologies. His work intersects educational innovation, learner-centered design and usability, focusing on aspects of AR/VR education, embodied cognition, child development, and socio-technological evolution. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University developing augmented reality for collaborative learning in maker spaces. He holds a PhD from Georgia Tech focused on augmented reality for K-12 education, and has worked with PBS KIDS (lead project manager & lead game designer for the AR educational app Cyberchase Shape Quest - 1Mil downloads; Webby & iKids awards winner), ArchieMD (senior researcher of AR medical simulations), MIT (creator of AR Scratch), Samsung Research, Qualcomm, WestEd Research. He is a co-organizer of the Boston EdTech meetup, and the founder of the annual IEEE Virtual Reality conference workshop on K-12 Embodied Learning through Virtual & Augmented Reality.
Expertise: educational design, UX research, UX design, Unity, C#, C++, Networking, Electronics/Arduino, Vuforia, Hololens.
Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
Nick Landry (@ActiveNick) is a mobility pioneer and former entrepreneur specializing in cross-platform mobile app development for Windows, iOS and Android devices. Nick works at Microsoft as a Senior Technical Evangelist in the New York Metro area. He spent most his career in IT consulting, software and services companies across various technical and business roles, designing, building, managing and selling innovative software products and solutions for the world’s top brands and Fortune 500 companies.
Known for his dynamic and engaging style, he is a frequent speaker at major software development conferences worldwide, was a 10-year Microsoft MVP awarded on Windows Phone Development, and a Nokia Developer Ambassador & Champion. With over 24 years of professional experience, Nick is a certified developer and software architect by trade and specializes in Cross-Platform Mobility, Computer Speech & Bots, IoT, Cloud, GIS and Mobile Game Development. He is an active blogger, occasional author, avid gamer, loving husband and proud father.
Blog: http://AgeofMobility.com – GitHub: http://github.com/activenick
Expertise: HoloToolkit for Unity, C#, UWP, Azure, Windows Speech SDK, Bot Framework
Nigel Williams was previously a graphics driver software engineer for the Adreno GPU, in the Snapdragon SoC, at Qualcomm. He worked on both the OpenGL ES and Vulkan APIs with a focus on the GearVR and Daydream mobile VR platforms. Currently, he has relocated to London, UK, where he is about to begin a new chapter in his career.
Qi graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design with a Master degree in Design Studies. He worked as an AR/VR specialist at Harvard Innovation Labs, providing VR development training and support to student entrepreneurs working in AR/VR domains. He is also a co-founder of the Harvard AR/VR Student Alliance, a university-wide student group officially recognized by the University.
At Qualcomm, Sam designs VR/AR features utilized by app and platform developers in the mobile space. He works with industry leaders to define interface specifications and best practices. Prior to Qualcomm Sam has worked on graphics technology at ATI and AMD. He holds a masters in Computer Science from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Sami Ramly is a VR/AR Product Lead, currently the VR Product Management Lead at Wevr (2 out of 10 Best VR products of 2016 according to TechCrunch). Previously, he worked in Product on 3D Printing & 3D Scanning at Microsoft, where he shipped Microsoft's first 3D Scan app for Windows 10. Sami is a VR/AR Mentor at Stanford, UCLA, USC, SIGGRAPH and others. He sits on the VR Advisory Board of UCLAx’s Product Management Program and the Advisory Board of Rabbit Hole VR, Stanford's VR/AR maker community, featured in Business Insider as a place where “the next big thing in VR could come”.
Serena is a product manager at Google, where she works on augmented reality. In particular, Serena recently participated in the launch of Google's ARCore, a developer preview of an SDK for building AR experiences on Android devices. Before joining the AR team at Google, Serena studied computer science with a focus on robotics and human-robot interaction at Harvard.
VR Evangelist, HP, Inc. Top Silicon Valley Engineer and Tech Community Leader. Shannon works in the CTO Office of HP and is their VR Evangelist, guiding vision both internally and externally. He has over 20 years’ experience as an engineer in Silicon Valley at places like Apple, Microsoft, Macromedia and now, HP. Organizer of VRCamp at Burning Man, Silicon Valley WebGL Meetup (largest in the world), co-organizer of Silicon Valley AR Meetup, Organizer of Mars Home Planet Meetup. Chairman of the W3C Declarative WebVR Community. Member of the IEEE Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Working Group and the Khronos OpenXR Working Group.
Vinny DaSilva is a Developer Evangelist for the Vuforia platform. Vinny is passionate about creating AR/VR experiences in Unity. Before joining Vuforia, Vinny was a consultant working with a diverse set of clients in industries such as medical devices, financial services, startups, and many more. In a previous life, Vinny spent over ten years as an engineer working in the life-sciences industry. In his current role, Vinny focuses on helping developers throughout the world create great Augmented Reality experiences. Twitter: @vad710
CEO, Mind Fusion VR. Purchasing his first computer at age 16 with his own money rather than his first car, Wade Stoddard's passion for technology started at a very young age. Through the years of company positions and various IT titles Wade has grown to understand the important role technology plays in our lives. After the release of VR consumer products in 2016 Wade started a VR events company in Phoenix, AZ. While his company was hosting VR events it became apparent that using VR for training would be vastly more immersive than current computer based solutions. In 2017 Wade started Mind Fusion VR and has great plans to train individuals in a more engaging way.