Tom Furness will speak on TNW conference, which takes place on 15 and 16 June in Amsterdam. If you’d like to join the event (and say hello to our editors!), we’ve got something special for our loyal readers. Use the promotional code READ-TNW-25 and receive a 25% discount on your business pass for TNW Conference. See you in Amsterdam!
Since the invention of the world’s first (and rather crude) VR machine in 1956, extended reality (XR) has evolved into a seriously sophisticated kit and is becoming more common in workplaces and homes around the world.
Few contributed more to the development of this technology than the American inventor, pioneer and professor Tom Furness. Furness, celebrated as the ‘granddaddy’ of VR and AR, has pioneered the development of human interface technology for 55 years.
Furness was fascinated with problem solving from an early age and joined the United States Air Force in 1966, where he spent 23 years developing advanced cockpits and virtual interfaces for the Department of Defense. He later founded the Human interface technology laboratory at the University of Washington, and then the Virtual World Societyan organisation dedicated to solving some of the world’s most intractable problems using XR.
Now, although I’ve heard of some pretty cool use cases of XR – like before education and surgery — I mostly associate the technology with gaming and other “fun” immersive experiences. What I know less about, however, is how XR can be used to save the world.
“We look at how we can use our art to solve some of the most existential problems of our time, such as climate change, disease and water scarcity,” Furness said in a video interview. “We need to wake up and become more aware of where our society is headed, and this [XR] is one of the tools we can use to promote that awareness.”
People love a good story and seeing is believing, so the idea that XR can be used to create awareness and drive change doesn’t sound far fetched at all. In fact, it sounds fascinating. Creating a better, more sustainable future is a mammoth task, so if XR can help, I’m all for it.
Bee TNW conference on June 15, Furness will delve deep into his journey at the cutting edge of XR development, exploring how the technology can be harnessed for humanitarian applications, driving social change and improving lives. See you there!
Furness’ insights into the humanitarian potential of XR are just one attraction of the TNW Conference. You can find more on the event calendar — and remember: use the promotional code for a 25% discount on business passes READ-TNW-25.