Cool new robotics paper

In September 2017, my PhD student Alli Nilles presented this fun paper, which made me wish I were doing more robotics recently. Periodic Trajectories of Mobile Robots. A. Q. Nilles, I. Becerra, and S. M. LaValle. In IEEE Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2017. [pdf]

Free VR Book

I have finished my new VR book, which you can download for free. It takes a holistic approach to VR and related fields by combining software, hardware, perceptual psychology, and human physiology into a single discipline. It also connects discussion to current consumer trends in VR and AR. It will be published in hard-copy form by Cambridge University Press.


In December 2016, I became the Chief Scientist of VR/AR/MR for Huawei Technologies, which makes me their global leader for research and product development. For those who don't know, Huawei is an employee-owned tech company with over 170,000 people and offices in over 100 countries. It is a leader in communications infrastructure and ranked third in smartphone revenues. I remain a Professor at UIUC, so that we may collaborate closely with (and support) academic researchers and students. Some press: China Daily Weixin (in Chinese)


Try out my new virtual reality MOOC (free online course with videos, also on YouTube), which was created by NPTEL and IIT Madras. Many thanks to Prof. Manivannan, and all the other professors, students, and staff at IIT who offered great hospitality during my stay. The course is a companion to my BOOC (pronounced like fluke, so that it rhymes with MOOC).

Oculus VR Patents

I was never a big fan of patents, but now I have a couple based on my contributions to the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets. One is for VR system calibration and another is for perception-based tracking. These are the first two Oculus patents, and there are only three to date.

Busy Summer

I gave keynote addresses at two conferences that study how VR affects organisms: The Bernstein Sparks Workshop on Multi-modal closed-loop stimulation and virtual realities and the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception. I met so many interesting scientists! I also offered a two-week course on VR at IIT Madras.

VR Workshop

I am co-organizing a workshop on virtual reality, bringing together industry leaders and research experts. It will be in Seattle on May 26, 2015. More details appear on the web page.

March Press

I had another interview with the Chicago Tribune (March 13, 2015). My early Oculus work, from Finland, was covered in the Finnish press on March 29, 2015. Also, I was quoted in a Daily Illini article.

Chicago Tribune Interview

In this article, published on Sept. 18, 2014, my perspective on research, Oculus, robotics, and virtual reality are covered.

Back at Illinois

After two years away, I returned to the university in August 2014 with renewed energy and focus. Since September 2012, I started helping Oculus VR with head tracking when it was only a few people. In March 2013, I joined full-time in Irvine as the head scientist, mainly working on tracking and perceptual psychology. Three other former members of my lab have been involved: Anna Yershova, Max Katsev, and Dan Gierl. In March 2014, Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook. (Also see the university news story.) Also, in Spring 2015 (Jan-May) I am offering a UIUC course on virtual reality (and over time, I hope to make as many open materials as possible).

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