To call Carolina Cruz-Neira one of the top women computer engineers working in virtual reality seems too small a statement. Internationally-renowned virtual reality scientist comes closer.
Currently the director of the Emerging Analytics Center (EAC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Venezuelan-American computer engineer is known as the inventor of the CAVE virtual reality system which was her PhD project and as the architect of the CAVELibs and VRJuggler, an open source VR application development environment.
As an avid advocate for virtual reality and its broader application in daily use and industry, Dr. Cruz-Neira is often a keynote speaker at international technology events. Her appointment as director of the EAC was in 2014 and already in 2015, she and her team started touring the globe on the VR international events trail. She and her team have presented at the international Virtual Reality Summit in Santa Clara, California and the Laval Virtual international conference in Laval, France, amongst many international conferences where the cutting edge technology is being discussed by experts around the world.
Her session, Beyond Fun and Games: VR as a Tool of the Trade, speaks of her deep experience in research as well as industry and the private sector. She has founded and led very successful virtual reality research units, like the Virtual Reality Applications Center at Iowa State University and the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise before her appointment as director of the EAC.
Believing in the transfer of research results for practical use, Dr. Cruz-Neira has spearheaded several Open Source initiatives and led entrepreneurial initiatives to commercialize practical applications of research results. She serves in many international technology boards and government technology advisory committees.
As part of taking VR to everyone, the EAC booth displays its ongoing projects like its interactive and immersive VR table, “Anatomical Eyes.” Anatomical Eyes allows the user to interactively dissect an annotated virtual human body as a medical and educational resource.
One of the Center’s mobile apps on display allows users to experience the Al Baleed archaeology site in Oman. Other applications on display include two Oculus Rift apps. “Potel: Interactive Pottery and 3D Printing” and “IsoSculpt,” which allow users to create pottery and sculptures in a virtual environment. The virtual reality tech displayed by Dr. Cruz-Neira and her team can be used in a multitude of disciplines.
Before you think her a door academic, indicative of her South American origin, the computer scientist also designs and produces stage performances and public exhibits combining technology, dance, theater, and art.
As an award-winning and globally recognized scientist and academic who is also able to give expression to technology in a creative and artistic manner, Dr. Cruz-Neira makes a keynote speaker on the international tech circuit not to miss.