Jaron Lanier may not have sired the term virtual reality—that honor generally goes to French playwright Antonin Artaud in 1938—but he’s one hell of a father figure. As the founder of legendary VR company VPL Research, Jaron Lanier both popularized the term and helped create most of the enduring icons of early VR, from The Lawnmower Man’s snazzy headset and gear to the ill-fated Nintendo Power Glove. Now, 25 years after stepping away from the VR field, Lanier has re­­entered the alternate universe he so famously evangelized.

His new book, Dawn of the New Everything, is part ­coming-of-age chronicle (he lived with his father in a DIY geodesic dome), part swinging Silicon Valley memoir (rich anecdotes from his time at VPL), and it’s stuffed with enough fantastical soothsaying to fill a Holodeck… Read the interview at Wired.

“The visceral realness of human presence within an avatar is the most dramatic sensation I’ve felt in VR.”

-Jaron Lanier


Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world, and with high quality VR move around in it and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Read more at Wikipedia.

Jaron Zepel Lanier is an American computer philosophy writer, computer scientist, visual artist, and composer of classical music. A pioneer in the field of virtual reality, Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman left Atari in 1985 to found VPL Research, Inc., the first company to sell VR goggles and gloves. In the late 1990s, Lanier worked on applications for Internet2, and in the 2000s, he was a visiting scholar at Silicon Graphics and various universities. From 2006 he began to work at Microsoft, and from 2009 forward he works at Microsoft Research as an Interdisciplinary Scientist. Read more at Wikipedia.


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